New York Social Service Agency Sued for Gender Discrimination

April 5, 2021 Updated: April 5, 2021

Two individuals and an institution filed a lawsuit against the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) on March 29 for gender discrimination after it allegedly failed to provide an “X” gender option for applicants.

Applicants in the state must declare their gender to receive Medicaid, food stamps, and other public assistance. The plaintiffs, who say they are nonbinary (someone who identifies as neither gender), said OTDA is refusing to update its computer system, compelling nonbinary applicants to either lie under oath or be denied benefits. As state and municipal policies in New York recognize the gender “X” on identification documentation, the plaintiffs argue OTDA has violated the state constitution as well as state and local anti-discrimination laws.

In order for OTDA to update its software, it will be a multi-million-dollar project, funded by taxpayers in New York state.

The lawsuit names two individual plaintiffs, Jules Donahue and Jaime Mitchell, as well as organizational plaintiff Princess Janae Place, a Bronx-based organization that helps homeless transgender and nonbinary people move from homelessness to independent living.

“I was forced to choose between M or F, male or female, as a gender marker, which neither really align with how I express myself or feel inside. So that was particularly traumatic, especially during such a vulnerable time,” said Donahue.

The plaintiffs also complained that they are forced to “misgender” themselves on other occasions such as making a doctor’s appointment.

The lawsuit also names the New York City Department of Social Services (NYC DSS), the municipal social services agency overseen by OTDA. NYC DSS Commissioner Steven Banks said he has made multiple requests to OTDA to update its computer systems to recognize gender “X.”

An OTDA spokesperson told New York Post in an email that the gender marker is only for the agency’s internal computer system, not public documents, and that a multi-million dollar software upgrade will allow the additional gender option.

“The state has made a determination that … ‘F’ will be used as a default for individuals who would otherwise identify as X. The state’s determination not to allow … clients to register a case with an ‘X’ value renders a birth certificate with an X value, obtained pursuant to the local law, essentially meaningless in direct conflict with our commitment to serving all New Yorkers in need with dignity and respect,” Banks said, according to the filing.

Biden Administration Grants Transgender Individuals Unprecedented Rights

Adding a third gender to recognize nonbinary identity has become a major political campaign for the radical left, who touted it as respecting human rights.

Since the first day President Joe Biden took office, he issued a series of executive orders, elevating the status of the transgender community in the country to its highest ever.

New House of Representatives rules require the use of “gender-neutral” terms to “honor all gender identities,” eliminating such specific terms as mother, father, son, and daughter.

At the same time, Biden’s White House website updated gender prefix options to include “Mx,” alongside “Mr.” and “Ms.”

Biden’s executive order on “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” allows transgender athletes to play in their preferred gender group and allows transgender individuals to use bathrooms, fitting rooms of their choice. Many women expressed their anger at this new executive order, and #BidenErasedWomen became a top trend on Twitter in January.

This has also led to a series of real-life problems. For example, two biological males in Connecticut started participating in women’s track and field competitions in 2017 and have won 15 women’s championships so far. As a result, the biological female athletes competing with these biological males were denied chances to win a college athletic scholarship.

There are discussions on social media that if trans women are not allowed to use women’s restrooms, the government will have to build many types of restrooms to “avoid discrimination.”

In 2021, 112 gender options have been identified.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.