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Transgender lawyer in Northern Illinois fighting harassment

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Sheryl Ring, a lawyer who practices in Northern Illinois and Chicagoland, is fighting harassment and discrimination from judges and her fellow lawyers.

CBS Chicago reported that Ring has been outed and deadnamed by judges.

“I have been misgendered or called slurs from the bench,” she told the TV station. “I have had judges who simply call me sir.”

Ring does have her legal name on the card issued to licensed lawyers in Illinois. But that hasn’t stopped the harassment. In once case a court clerk refused to use her legal name.

According to CBS Chicago, Ring sued the Winnebago County Clerk of the Circuit Court in August. She is accusing them of using her pre-transition name in court proceedings and e-filings, leaving her clients confused, despite her repeated requests.

“I do believe it was deliberate,” she said. “I should not have to disclose my gender identity to every client or to every client in a certain jurisdiction.”

The clerk has started to use her legal name in the past week.

Ring is also calling for changes to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct, an ethics code for attorneys including judges and clerks, CBS Chicago reported.

“There is not any kind of ramifications for a judge being transphobic right now, for an attorney being transphobic right now, for a clerk being transphobic right now,” she said.

The code says an attorney can be reprimanded for discrimination based on race, sex, religion, age, or several other factors but not gender identity. CBS Chicago reported that the Illinois Supreme Court is reviewing their rules of professional conduct.

CBS Chicago contacted the Winnebago County Clerk for comment, who then referred them to office’s attorney. As of Wednesday evening, the lawyer had not responded to the TV station.

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