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Judge says transgender artist's suit can proceed
by Matt Simonette
2018-12-03

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A federal judge ruled in mid-November that a transgender woman's lawsuit against the City can move forward.

Judge Andrea Wood ruled Nov. 12 that Bea Sullivan-Knoff could proceed with a lawsuit challenging Chicago's ban on exposure of female breasts in establishments that serve liquor, which Sullivan-Knoff, a performance artist, originally maintained is both unconstitutional and goes against the state's Human Rights Ordinance. Sullivan-Knoff further asserts that exposing her body makes up an integral part of her act.

While dismissing some aspects of Sullivan-Knoff's claim, Wood denied the City's motion to fully dismiss it, indicating that as such "both sides will have the opportunity in discovery to explore whether, how, and to what extent the exposure of female breasts—as opposed to male breasts—creates a sexual environment, and whether, how, and to what extent this legitimates the differential treatment of females and males under the [City's] Ordinance."

Sullivan-Knoff filed the suit in Aug. 2016. At the time, her lawyer, Mary Grieb, said the city's law "reflects 19th-century ideas about gender and sex, and gender and identification."


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