Federal court will hear trans teen’s case against school bathroom ban
A US trans teen’s lawsuit against his school over its bathroom ban will go to a federal appeals court.
In July, Wisconsin student Ash Whitaker brought a lawsuit against Kenosha Unified School District.
He alleged he was discriminated against by the district’s bathroom policy, which he said required trans students to use the wrong bathroom and to identify themselves with green bracelets.
The lawsuit also states that teachers have continued to misgender Ash and call him by his female birth name, and that they stopped him from running for prom king until his classmates protested.
A federal judge ruled in Ash’s favour in September, but the district has since appealed.
Attorneys for both sides presented their arguments this morning, at a hearing before the 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals in Chicago, reported CBS Chicago.
Following the hearing, Ash’s mother Melissa Whitaker said: “There’s still a lot of hate in the world, a lot of misunderstanding, definitely; but there’s still a lot of hope, and that’s what we kind of want to come away with.
“We feel very positive about how it went, how things have been going.”
Ash’s attorney, Joseph Wardenski, said: “Now, as more and more transgender people feel comfortable living consistent with their gender identity in their lives and at school, it’s maybe not surprising that we’re seeing these cases, but we hope that trans people in schools and elsewhere will be able to be respected for who they are.”
Ash, who will start studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison later this year, began identifying as a boy during his freshman year in high school, according to the lawsuit.
He has had hormone treatments, and notes from his doctors identify him as a boy, but he has not yet had gender reassignment surgery.
The district requires students to use the bathroom which matches the gender on their birth certificate.
An injunction has allowed Ash to use the boys’ toilets during his last year in school, while the lawsuit continues to move through the courts.
The news follows the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case of Virginian trans teen Gavin Grimm, in light of the Trump administration’s removal of key protections.
Grimm’s school ordered him to use a toilet corresponding with his “biological gender.”