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California court hosts ‘gender identity’ training for judges, featuring DEI speaker: Report

A California court hosted a “gender identity” training for judges and attorneys, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported Friday.

According to an invitation posted by the Santa Cruz County Bar Association, the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County presented an event titled “Pride + Pronouns – Understanding Gender Identity in the Courtroom and Beyond” in May 2023 via video conference.

“This program will help attorneys, judges, and others understand and address issues related to gender identity that may arise in the courtroom. Panelists will bring you up to speed on current understanding of gender identities and pronouns, explain why it’s important to use appropriate pronouns, and provide tips on best practices related to gender identity issues. Dialogue is welcome as the panel discusses whether and how judges and attorneys should invite litigants to identify their pronouns, how to address individuals whose gender identity is unknown, what to do if an individual deliberately misgenders someone in the courtroom, and more,” the event invitation stated.

The presentation was hosted by Tristan E.H. Higgins, who was described as a “highly trained and internationally recognized speaker, consultant and coach on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Speakers at the virtual event also included Todd Brower, the judicial education director for the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public at UCLA School of Law, and Jodi Cleesattle, the supervising deputy attorney general in the Employment and Administrative Mandate Section of the California Department of Justice.

The 17-slide presentation, obtained by the DCNF, broke down the so-called differences between “gender expression,” “gender identity,” “sex assigned at birth,” and “attraction,” which it noted are “independent of each other.” According to Higgins’ slide deck, doctors and “sometimes parents” assign a newborn’s sex at birth. The terms “biological sex” and “anatomical sex” are described as “disfavored” and “problematic.”

Participants were presented with a list of “some types of gender,” including “nonbinary,” “transgender,” “third sex,” “gender fluid,” “agender,” “two-spirit,” “gender neutrois,” and “masculine” and “feminine of center.” It used color theory graphics, such as blue and yellow combined to make green, to illustrate the so-called pronoun and gender spectrum.

Judges and attorneys were encouraged to address individuals by titles, including “plaintiff, witness, party, counsel, litigant, juror,” instead of honorifics like “Ms., Mr., or Mx.”

Higgins, who describes herself as a “gender-nonconforming lesbian,” told the DCNF that several legal organizations and another California court have previously hired her to host similar trainings.

“I have worked with the San Diego and Santa Cruz courthouses,” Higgins stated. “I have taught at the National Judicial College and the National Association of Women Judges, which included a cross-section of judicial officers from all over the country. I have trained district attorneys, city attorneys, U.S. Attorneys, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Wherever there is a need, I will fill it.”

The court told the news outlet that the decision to host Higgins’ presentation “came out of the Court’s Prevention of Bias Committee.”

-The Blaze

 

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