Clifford Clapp


Gender dysphoria affects transgender people at significantly higher rates than other populations. In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit case of Kesha T. Williams v. Stacey A. Kincaid, et al., 45 F.4th 759 (4th Cir. 2022), the Court found that the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, in denying Ms. Williams’ hormone replacement therapy for her gender dysphoria, had violated her right to equal treatment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Court generally found that, despite the ADA being written with animus toward transgender people, even under that language, gender dysphoria was not excluded from protection under the law.

With gender dysphoria protected by the ADA in the states over which the Fourth Circuit has authority, any laws or protections stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act will need to be considered in relation to the new interpretation. This includes 504 plans in schools, which provide equal educational access to students with disabilities. In states where schools are prohibited by state or gubernatorial policy from affirming transgender students’ identities, legal action due to conflicting state and federal guidelines is inevitable.