Monday, June 05, 2017

7th Circuit Upholds Transgender Student's Bathroom Rights

In Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, (7th Cir., May 30, 2017), the U.S. 7th Circuit court of Appeals affirmed a district court's grant of a preliminary injunction requiring a Wisconsin high school to permit 17-year old Ash Whitaker, a transgender male, to use the boys' rest rooms.  Summarizing its holding, the court said in part:
Ash has sufficiently demonstrated a likelihood of success on his Title IX claim under a sex‐stereotyping theory. Further, because the policy’s classification is based upon sex, he has also demonstrated that heightened scrutiny, and not rational basis, should apply to his Equal Protection Claim. The School District has not provided a genuine and exceedingly persuasive justification for the classification.
Rejecting the school's privacy arguments, the court said in part:
What the record demonstrates here is that the School District’s privacy argument is based upon sheer conjecture and abstraction.... A transgender student’s presence in the restroom provides no more of a risk to other students’ privacy rights than the presence of an overly curious student of the same biological sex who decides to sneak glances at his or her classmates.
The Hill reports on the decision.