American Judges Association
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Transgender Pronoun Preference and the Application of the Model Code of Judicial Conduct
Date of this Version
Court Review, Volume 53, Issue 4 (2017)
Amnesty International—a civil-rights organization that “work[s] to protect people wherever justice, freedom, [and] truth . . . [have been] denied”1—put it best in its mission statement: “We all have a sexual orientation and a gender identity, and this shared fact means that discrimination against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual[,] and Transgender community, based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, is an issue that transcends that community and affects all of us.”2 Fundamental to this communal conception are notions of dignity and respect, both of which are to be enjoyed by all people of all backgrounds. When transgender individuals litigate in court, the adversarial system sometimes ignores these basic dignities and instead gives way to practices that impede upon such individuals’ ability to freely express themselves in a manner consistent with their own identities. Moreover, under the Model Code of Judicial Conduct and its various state codifications, judges must rely upon traditional notions of justice, judicial integrity, impartiality, and respect 3 to ensure that transgender persons enjoy the same rights as do other members of society
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