In the case of Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal organization, filed a lawsuit on behalf of an anonymous group of students lead by “Joel Doe” and his parents. The lawsuit claimed that Doe and a group of students who attended Boyertown Area High School felt uncomfortable sharing a restroom with a transgender student. The students also argued that the mere presence of a transgender individual in a single-space area – like a restroom – threatened their health and safety. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
By refusing to hear the lawsuit, the ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stands, which means that transgender students may use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity. According to Appeals Court Judge Theodore McKee, the Boyertown Area School District created a policy that respected the unique needs of transgender students. This starts with allowing them to access spaces that match their gender identity.
Boyertown’s Policy Does Not Violate the Rights of Other Students
The lower court ruled that allowing transgender students in sex-segregated schools did not violate the rights of students who are cisgender, or whose own gender experiences correspond to their birth sex. In addition, it does not violate their rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. According to the law, schools may provide single-sex bathrooms that are comparable to other single-sex facilities, but it is not mandatory. Boyertown’s current policy also states that a student may use gender-neutral or single-user restrooms if they would rather not use the shared facilities.
Doe and the other students said that the presence of transgender students in bathrooms made them uncomfortable. They further argued that the current policy is a form a sexual harassment. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) got involved with the case to support the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, which is a group of LGBTQ leaders and youth organizations. The ACLU also intervened on behalf of a transgender student who had attended Boyertown Area Senior High School during the previous year. According to a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, the outcome of the lawsuit is a tremendous victory for transgender students.
Philadelphia Local Counsel at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Transgender Rights
If your civil rights have been violated because of your LGBTQ status, Philadelphia local counsel at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, P.C. will protect your rights, including your right to use the restroom that corresponds to your gender identity. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, where we represent clients in South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.