A Federal Court Ruled To Let This Trans Boy Use The Men's Bathroom

Photo: Larry Washburn/Getty Images.
It's not just state governments that have been limiting trans people's rights by restricting their bathroom access. Some individual schools have instituted policies around who can use which bathroom. Such was the case with Wisconsin's Kenosha Unified School District, which tried to stop a trans boy from using the men's room.
After Ash Whitaker was forbidden from using the school bathroom that corresponded with his gender, he went to a district court, Buzzfeed reports, claiming that the rule violated his Title IX rights and his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court issued a preliminary injunction ordering the district to let him use the bathroom of his choice.
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The case went to the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which upheld the district court's decision on Tuesday. "A policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX," wrote Judge Ann Claire Williams. She added that the school also violated the Equal Protection Clause by treating Whitaker differently from other students based on his gender identity.
The ruling also addressed the school's claim that letting transgender students use the bathroom they feel most comfortable in could put other students' privacy at stake, calling it "sheer conjecture and abstraction."
"The School District has failed to provide any evidence of how the preliminary injunction will harm it, or any of its students or parents," she wrote. "The harms identified by the School District are all speculative and based upon conjecture, whereas the harms to Ash are well‐documented and supported by the record."
This decision is a huge win for trans rights, since it sets a precedent for future cases when schools may try to restrict what bathrooms gender-nonconforming students use. Although Trump has gotten rid of Title IX protections for trans students, Williams' interpretation suggests that by protecting people from sex discrimination, Title IX also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.
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