Federal US court rules against trans discrimination in landmark case

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled in favour of a young transgender student’s right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender in a high-profile case.

The court, which presides over the states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, found that the Kenosha Unified School District could not prevent trans student Ash Whitaker from using the bathroom of their choosing.

“The School District has not demonstrated that it will suffer any harm from having to comply with the district court’s preliminary injunction order,” the three judge panel unanimously ruled.

The judges found that Whitaker should be protected by sex discrimination protections under Title IX of the US’ Education Amendments of 1972, and that the district’s anti-trans bathroom policy conflicted with the constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

“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,” Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote.

“The School District argues that since it treats all boys and girls the same, it does not violate the Equal Protection Clause. This is untrue, rather, the School District treats transgender students like Ash, who fail to conform to the sex‐based stereotypes associated with their assigned sex at birth, differently.”

Judge Williams said the school district failed to convince the courts with evidence that violation of their anti-trans bathroom policy would harm students or parents.

“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.”

OIP Staff

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