Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Marcus Alan McGhee, Judicial Cognition of Gender Transition: One Court's Attempts at Combating Misgendering by Judges, 6 HOWARD HUMAN & CIVIL RIGHT L. REV. 1 (September 12, 2022).
Members of the transgender community—especially those that identify as transgender women of color—encounter more incivility in one day than most will in a year’s time. When they enter the court system, a beacon of integrity and impartiality, they should find refuge from disenfranchisement. Instead, many transgender individuals encounter judicial officers ensconced in their intransigence and unwilling to accept binding precedent that permits them to change their name and gender markers to align with their identity. Beyond this failure to follow the law, some jurists have even purposefully rejected a litigant’s requests to be identified by their preferred pronouns. Other judges have amplified the discourteousness by deliberately misgendering litigants or referring to them as “whichever” or “it.” This article posits that to curtail a court’s churlish behavior, such instances should be referred to judicial misconduct commissions to investigate whether the judge violated established ethical rules, and when appropriate, enter an official misconduct finding to hold that judicial officer accountable.