Transgender Student Can Continue To Use Girls’ Bathroom, Federal Appeals Court Rules

WASHINGTON — A transgender female student at an Ohio school will be able to continue using the girls’ restroom under a Thursday evening federal appeals court’s ruling.

An order that the Highland Local School District allow the student to use the girls’ restroom will remain in effect for now, the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled. The court denied the school district’s request to halt enforcement of a preliminary injunction issued against the school.

The move is the latest in a series of lawsuits and other actions over the question of whether existing civil rights laws — here, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — protect against anti-transgender discrimination through their bans on sex discrimination. The Obama administration has backed the view that transgender people are protected by the current laws.

Highland’s request for a stay was considered by Judges Damon Keith, Jeff Sutton, and Bernice Donald.

“[T]he record establishes that Doe, a vulnerable eleven year old with special needs, will suffer irreparable harm if prohibited from using the girls’ restroom,” according to the court unsigned order. “The district court issued the injunction to protect Doe’s constitutional and civil rights, a purpose that is always in the public interest. … Thus, a stay is improper in this case.”

Judge Sutton dissented from the order denying the stay, pointing to a stay issued by the US Supreme Court over the summer in a similar case out of Virginia. The high court agreed to hear that case, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board.

“The Supreme Court presumably will resolve the Title IX issue in 2017,” he wrote. “In the meantime, the Court has indicated that we should wait for further instructions before granting relief on these sorts of claims.”


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