Trans student appeals to intervene in ‘devastating’ lawsuit which would stop him using boys’ toilets
A trans student is trying to intervene in a lawsuit which would take away his right to use the boys’ toilet at his school.
Aidan DeStefano, 18, started using the male facilities and competing in the boys’ cross-country team this school year, after completing his transition.
The student, who is a star pupil at Boyertown Area Senior High in Pennsylvania, said in court documents that it “feels so good – I am finally ‘one of the guys,’ something I have waited for my whole life.”
But DeStefano, who has been elected to the homecoming court by his other students, will lose this right if a case brought forward by another, anonymous Pennsylvanian student succeeds.
The high-school junior, named as Joel Doe, is suing his – and DeStefano’s – school district, claiming that his privacy has been violated due to the pro-trans policy.
The lawsuit, filed at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court, stated that Doe was changing in the boys’ locker room when he saw a student wearing a bra and shorts.
DeStefano was not the student accused in the lawsuit, but he felt he had to speak up regardless, and the ACLU has backed him up.
The case represents a clash between the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian law firm which has drafted model anti-trans legislation, and the ACLU, which is representing trans student Gavin Grimm.
DeStefano wrote: “I want to be part of this lawsuit because for me there is something very personal at stake,” he wrote in the motion to intervene.
“I have worked very hard to bring my life into alignment and I cannot stand aside while my dignity and ability to fully participate in school life are under attack.”
He goes on to state that “being able to be my true self is more important than I can describe.
“I cannot imagine what it would mean to be told I could no longer use the male restrooms and lockers.
“I could not go back to using the female facilities any more than any other male student could.”
The student added that such a rule change would be “devastating” and “distressing” for him, and “deeply uncomfortable for everyone.
“Even before I began hormones and had chest surgery, it was clear that the girls’ bathroom was the wrong place for me.
“Now, I have facial hair, a male chest, a deep voice, and everyone knows I’m a guy. If the aim of the Complaint in this lawsuit is to keep students from sharing restrooms and locker rooms with members of the opposite sex, putting me in the female facilities would accomplish just the opposite.”
DeStefano, who recalls “no trouble in the bathrooms or locker room” and praises the “amazing” support from other students, said the lawsuit was bigger than him.
“To be told that I am required to use separate facilities than those used by the other boys, including my teammates, would be humiliating and stigmatising,” he wrote.
“That would send the message to all transgender students – and our classmates – that we are not fit to be among our peers.”
ADF’s legal counsel Kellie Fiedorek told the Associated Press that “our laws and customs have long recognised that we shouldn’t have to undress in front of persons of the opposite sex.
“But now some schools are forcing our children into giving up their privacy rights.”
However, the superintendent of the Boyertown Area School District, Dr Richard Faidley, said his district “respects and welcomes” the ACLU’s filing of a motion to intervene in support of DeStefano.
Fights over trans youths’ access to locker rooms and toilets are going on all over the country, exacerbated by Trump’s decision to reverse Obama’s transgender bathroom protections.
In Wisconsin, teenager Ash Whitaker is set to take on his school district in a federal appeals court.
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.