The man was once a legislative aide to Assemblymember Phil Ting, and the Supreme Court effectively upheld his claim that he was unfairly denied surgery for being transgender.

It is both completely reasonable, and insanely speculative, that every decision in the current United States Supreme Court term will be overanalyzed and read as tea leaves to predict how the court might decide on one of the state abortion bans they will soon consider, and whether they will outright overturn Roe v. Wade. Through that spectrum, we might be encouraged by an unexpected upholding of transgender rights handed down by the Trump-appointee heavy, 6-3 conservative majority. The Chronicle reports that the court denied a hearing for an appeal from an SF-based Catholic hospital group on Monday over their denial of surgery to a transgender man, a decision that effectively sends the case back to a California state court.

It’s a complex case, as is any that makes it to the Supreme Court. But very interestingly, the man whom the Catholic hospital (“Dignity Health,” ironically) is suing worked as a legislative aide to Assemblymember Phil Ting. This Bay Area Reporter piece from 2014 describes Evan Minton as “a legislative aide for Assemblyman Phil Ting,” and adds that “he transitioned from female to male in 2012 while working as a legislative staffer to then-Assemblyman Ricardo Lara.” A 2019 Bay Area Reporter article, which is about an earlier appeal of this case, refers to Minton as “a former state legislative aide who now works for Voices for Progress.”

Phil Ting’s district covers much of the western half of San Francisco.

We’ll let him tell his side of the story, as he’s posted to the ACLU website:

In August 2016, I was in the process of undergoing gender-affirming care through a series of medical treatments. I made an appointment to undergo a treatment at Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a hospital in the Dignity Health chain, near Sacramento, California, where I live.
Two days before my appointment date, a nurse called me to go over the details, and I mentioned that I was transgender. The very next day — a day before my procedure was supposed to take place — the hospital called my doctor to inform her that the appointment had been canceled because the procedure was related to my gender transition. When I heard the news, I was so devastated that I collapsed on the floor. Once I was able to pick myself up, I remember just stumbling around the house, blinded by my tears.

The ACLU filed suit on Minton’s behalf in 2017, and it has bounced through the appeals system since, with differing rulings, and further appeals. Monday’s 6-3 Supreme Court ruling is actually a rejection of hearing the case, which kicks it back to the California courts according to NBC News. Nonetheless, the Trumpy Supreme Court could have set an anti-trans precedent, but chose not to, with only Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas dissenting.

And so this is the second unexpected LGBTQ legal victory at the Supreme Court level in the last 18 months. Their June 2020 ruling protecting gay and transgender workers from discrimination was a terrific surprise, with six justices voting in the majority (while RBG was still alive) and now this. The abortion landscape is unclear, but the most conservative Supreme Court of out lifetimes seems comfortable siding with LGBTQ rights, and that’s got to infuriate the evangelicals and conservative think tanks that worked so hard to create this right-wing majority court.

Related: Bay Area Officials and Lawmakers React to Stunning Supreme Court Decision on LGBTQ Rights [SFist]