Terre Haute school sued for access to toilets for transgender people

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HIGH EARTH, Ind. –A federal lawsuit filed on Monday claims that a school district in western Indiana illegally denied two transgender high school students the use of the school’s toilets and locker rooms associated with their gender identities.

The lawsuit against Vigo County School Corp. seeks a court order requiring school staff to use male names associated with the gender identity of students and to use these names in school publications such as the yearbook.

The lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of the students at Terre Haute North High School claims that the school district violated their rights and represents intentional discrimination in violation of federal law.

The two students have identified as male since elementary school and were diagnosed by medical professionals as having gender dysphoria, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims high school administrators refused to allow students to use the men’s bathroom and did not ask teachers to refer to them by their male names and pronouns as requested.

“Denying a student their right to use the right toilet is outright discrimination,” Indiana ACLU legal director Ken Falk said in a statement. “Schools should be a safe place for children and refusing to allow a student to use the correct toilet can be extremely damaging.”

A spokesperson for the school district declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The rights of transgender people to the toilet have been the subject of legal and political struggles across the country.

The United States Supreme Court in June dismissed an appeal by a Virginia school board to reinstate the ban on transgender toilets. The lower courts ruled that the board’s policy was unconstitutional and discriminatory against a student because he was required to use a toilet that matches his biological sex – female – or private bathrooms.

Attorneys general in 20 states, including Indiana, sued President Joe Biden’s administration in August to try to stop guidelines that extend federal protections against gender discrimination to LGBTQ people, ranging from transgender girls participating in school sports to the use of toilets at school and in the workplace that align with a person’s gender identity.


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