Supreme Court Makes Gender Ruling in Special Case

Supreme Court Makes Gender Ruling in Special Case

( – The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a transgender illegal immigrant in a case that could make it easier for rejected asylum claimants — including the one who brought the case — to stay in the US. Experts have pointed out that the opinion also recognizes the migrant’s preferred pronouns.

Around the year 2000, 12-year-old Guatemalan transwoman Leon Santos-Zacaria was raped by a neighbor; he claims the rape was motivated by transphobia. After fleeing to the US, Santos-Zacaria claimed he couldn’t return to Guatemala because he would suffer persecution based on his gender identity. In 2019, a US immigration court rejected his appeal to stay in the country, pointing out that the situation for transgender people in Guatemala has improved, rejecting Santos-Zacaria’s claim that he’d suffered persecution.

This month his appeal finally reached the Supreme Court. In a unanimous opinion issued on May 11, conservative and liberal justices came together to agree that Santos-Zacaria would suffer persecution if he were sent back to Guatemala, although it’s been legal for transgender Guatemalans to change their name to match their gender identity since 2016. The decision means Santos-Zacaria can remain in the US and keep appealing. It also makes it easier for future illegals to stay here by striking down the requirement they exhaust administrative remedies before legally challenging an immigration ruling.

Some Conservatives are alarmed that the Supreme Court used female pronouns for Santos-Zacaria, who uses the name “Estrella” but is still biologically male. The opinion consistently referred to him as “she” or “her,” prompting Twitter users to say the court shouldn’t be using language one described as “at odds with reality.” The trans issue still has the power to cause problems.

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