Trans girl allowed to continue using girls’ restroom despite objections by school district
A vulnerable trans girl is to be allowed to continue to use the girls’ bathroom, despite a bid by her Ohio School District to stop her from doing so.
Ohio’s Highland Local School District had filed a lawsuit to challenge federal protections put in place by the Obama administration.
But the district’s request was denied earlier this year.
And now the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it would be damaging for the 11-year-old student, who was named as Jane Doe to protect her anonymity, to be denied access to the gender-appropraite restroom.
“[T]he record establishes that Doe, a vulnerable eleven year old with special needs, will suffer irreparable harm if prohibited from using the girls’ restroom,” according to the court unsigned order.
“The district court issued the injunction to protect Doe’s constitutional and civil rights, a purpose that is always in the public interest. … Thus, a stay is improper in this case.”
It is hoped that the US Supreme Court will rule on trans bathroom issues some time in 2017.
The Obama administration has intervened on trans rights earlier this year after a concerted anti-LGBT campaign to stop transgender people from using public bathrooms.
The Department of Education wrote to every school in the US to advise them that they are obliged not to discriminate against trans students.
Highland Local School District took to court to defend their ban on one trans girl using female bathrooms and locker rooms.
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The school district argues that the girl, who has not been identified, is not discriminated against as they are permitted to use a unisex staff toilet, away from other students. Incredibly, the school district argued in court that allowing the student into the girls’ bathroom would put others “at risk”.
However, her lawyers contend the school is putting the girl at risk by refusing to recognise her identity.
Judge Algenon Marbley, the United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, previously ruled there was “no evidence” to support the student being banned from the student bathrooms and no suggestion they were a threat to anyone else.
The judge noted: “[Other] school districts that have encountered these very issues have been able to integrate transgender students fully into the academic and social community without disruption, and certainly without the doomsday scenarios Highland predicts, such as sexual predators entering an elementary-school restroom.
“The Court finds no merit in Third-Party Defendants’ argument that other students would be harmed by allowing Jane to use the bathroom consistent with her gender identity, as other students already do.”
He ruled: “The Court orders School District officials to treat Jane Doe as the girl she is, including referring to her by female pronouns and her female name and allowing her to use the girls’ restroom at Highland Elementary School.”
Attorney Joseph Weissman said: “Every student has a right to be free from discrimination and harassment while at school, and we are pleased the Court has taken this important step in protecting Jane Doe’s rights.”
The ruling creates a potential split on the issue, as last month a federal court in Texas ruled against the trans rights directive.