Passage of NDO will
not solve transgender bathroom issues
QSanAntonio.com, August 16, 2013
A 1999 ruling made by former Mayor Phil Hardberger when he was Chief Justice
of the 4th Court of Appeals will have an impact on determining whether
transgender citizens can legally use a public bathroom based on their
gender identity even if the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance is passed
by the City Council.
The decision came in the case of Chistie Lee Littleton, a San Antonio
transsexual woman who had been legally married to a man in Kentucky and
denied the status of a surviving spouse after her husband's death. Hardberger
agreed with 285th District Court Judge Frank Montalvo in his ruling that,
because of chromosomal evidence, Littleton’s marriage to Jonathon
Littleton was a same-sex marriage and therefore illegal.
“The male chromosomes do not change with either hormonal treatment
or sex reassignment surgery,” Hardberger wrote in his ruling. “Biologically
a post-operative female transsexual is still a male.”
Christie Lee and Jonathan
Mark Littleton on their wedding day. (Photo: ChristieLee.net)
Littleton's case is cited in an August 15 article in the San Antonio Express-News
where columnist Brian Chasnoff writes that opponents of the nondiscrimination
ordinance are saying they would be forced to "open their restroom
and locker room facilities to members of the opposite sex."(See related
In a posting on the Voices for Marriage web site, opposition leader Pastor
Gerald Ripley writes: "Transgenders comprise 0. 23% of the U.S. population.
Gays comprise about 3%. The straight population (97%) needs to have safeguards
provided to protect the innocence of our small daughters, granddaughters,
and nieces and to protect the privacy of straight females."
Chasnoff says that those assertions are false based on a statement he
got from City Attorney Michael Bernard who cited Hardberger's ruling:
“The law in this jurisdiction is a man who's born a man is a man
so you wouldn't be able to prosecute someone for stopping a transgender
person from going into a bathroom.”
Hardberger's decision is law in the thirty-two counties located in South
Texas and the Texas Hill Country that comprise the Fourth Court of Appeals.
"If the proposal passes," Bernard told Chasnoff, "a business
owner in San Antonio would still have the right to stop someone from going
into a bathroom — regardless of that person's gender identity."
A clear cut legal decision?
a meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio on March 19, 2007.
In March of 2007, Hardberger addressed
a meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio and discussed
the Littleton case during a question and answer session.
In the only tense moment of that evening, Hardberger defended his opinion
in the Littleton case by saying that he had followed the rule of law,
inferring that it was a clear cut legal decision. However, he did not
offer any clue as to what his personal thoughts on transgender rights
A sad ruling
"It is so sad that a ruling by one judge to maintain the legal status
quo for marriage is now being used to deny transgender San Antonians the
right to use a bathroom that they feel is safest for them to use,"
says transgender activist and U.S. Army Reserve veteran Jennifer Ingram.
"People walk past and work with transgender people every day and
never realize it, but then feel the need to segregate restrooms for the
same people based on appearance and incorrect stigmas. If transgender
people used the restroom associated with their birth sex, then they could
either suffer harm or be completely denied access to either restroom,"
"We are entitled to our privacy and safety like anyone else, and
hope that in lack of that judicial right to privacy, that business owners
consider our privacy and safety just like anyone else's. We are not out
there to harm anyone, we should just have the same rights as anyone else."
It is not clear how, or if, the transgender bathroom issue will be resolved.
Hardberger's ruling can no longer be appealed. Transgender advocates could
legally challenge the definitions he used but that would mean a long and
protracted court case. Another solution would be for the city to mandate
unisex public bathrooms which, because of the cost of remodeling, would
face widespread opposition.
ignores Hardberger opinion
By Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, August 15, 2013
Six years before Phil Hardberger became mayor, he wrote an opinion as
chief justice of the Fourth Court of Appeals that should serve to cool
at least one heated objection to the city's proposal to update its nondiscrimination
ordinance. The proposal would add protections for sexual orientation and
Separating anti-bias vote discriminatory
By Josh Brodesky, San Antonio Express-News, August 7, 2013
Just what will City Council do about Jennifer Ingram? Service is in her
blood, you could say. Her family members have served in the military for
generations. Every member of San Antonio's council supports veterans'
rights. But some on council want to split the vote. They want to support
veterans, but then vote against protections for sexual orientation and
non-discrimination ordinance debated at Citizens Heard meeting
San Antonio Current, August 8, 2013
Allegations of government mind control and a step toward pedophilia marked
the oftentimes, nonsensical testimony from anti-LGBT residents who came
out to oppose a non-discrimination ordinance during a City Hall public
Sometimes you vote your conscience and leave a legacy
By Randy Bear, Concerned Citizens, August 7, 2013
Most likely this vote will pass, since only one of three undecided votes
is needed for victory. All three are needed to defeat the measure. But
the names of those who opposed the measure will echo more than those who
support it. Why is that important?