January 20, 2017
A transgender Ohio student, age 11, has permission to keep using the girls’ bathroom until the case makes its way through the court system, according to a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in December 2016. The student, who identifies as a girl but who is a biological boy, has been using the girls’ restroom at the school.
In June, President Barack Obama and his administration enacted legislation that enforces a student’s right to choose the bathroom they want at school. The district administrators filed a lawsuit to stop the order. A U.S. District Court judge in the state turned down the school district’s request and directed the school to adhere to the ruling, permitting the student to use the restroom of choice. During a second appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the school district’s motion.
The court observed that the student, who remains anonymous, has attempted to take their own life numerous times. However, since they have been permitted to use the girls’ facilities, their stress level has dropped. If the student needs to use the boys’ bathroom or even use the nurses’ facilities, the improvements made in the child’s progress would be again jeopardized.
The district countered that the student had the right to use a private bathroom and to self-identify as a girl on campus. Legal representation additionally claimed that the rights and privacy of other children on campus were violated if a boy was permitted in the girls’ bathroom. The lawyer went on to say that the other girls would be concerned and upset.
In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to tackle the question of if the federal ruling is overreaching by forcing public schools to let transgender children use the bathrooms of their choice.
Issues of gender identity and related matters continue to make headlines as the laws change according to society norms. These challenges personally affect children in elementary and in high school. For further information on your rights as they related to gender identity, contact our office for help.