Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Courts in Indiana and Ohio award victories to trans kids in cases involving anti-bullying policies and bathroom usage.

When it comes to our trans kids, the courts have thankfully shown sanity in recent cases in Ohio and Indiana. 

From The Advocate:

A lawsuit from a conservative group challenging an Ohio school district’s anti-bullying policies that protect transgender students was thrown out of a federal court yesterday, saying it was unlikely to succeed on a key constitutional claim. 

 The Virginia-based, conservative education activist group Parents Defending Education (PDE) had filed the lawsuit claiming the anti-bullying policies of the Olentangy Local School District just north of Columbus are overly broad and violate a student’s protected First Amendment free speech rights when it forbids misgendering trans youth, according to local NBC affiliate WCMH. The policies also extend to student, teacher, and parent interactions in person and on social media when outside of school.

 “Transgender youth are far too often subject to harassment and bullying in public schools,” U.S. District Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley wrote in the ruling, saying PDE had failed to prove its claims. “They are threatened or physically injured in schools at a rate four times higher than other students. They are harassed verbally at extraordinarily higher rates. More than one in five attempt suicide.” 

 “Today’s decision affirms our commitment to maintaining a safe learning environment where all feel welcome and supported,” the district said in a statement. “We will continue to do so and are looking forward to another great school year.” 

 From LGBTQNation

 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled in favor of three transgender students who were forbidden by their schools from using bathrooms matching their gender identities. The circuit court upheld a lower court’s preliminary injunction that said the schools have to let trans students use facilities associated with their genders.

 “Students who are denied access to the appropriate facilities are caused both serious emotional and physical harm as they are denied recognition of who they are,” said ACLU of Indiana lawyer Kenneth Falk. “They will often avoid using the restroom altogether while in school. Schools should be a safe place for kids and the refusal to allow a student to use the correct facilities can be extremely damaging.”

 The case involves three trans boys in Martinsville, Indiana and Terre Haute, Indiana, who need access to the boys’ room at their middle and high schools.

. . .The school’s transgender bathroom policy took numerous factors into consideration and the school’s administration said that trans students needed unspecified surgical changes before they could use the correct bathroom. Gender-affirming surgery is banned for trans people under the age of 18 in Indiana.

 The court took into account the fact that Title IX bans discrimination on the basis of sex in schools that receive federal money, which is most of them. Citing the 2020 Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton Co. that found that job discrimination against LGBTQ+ people necessarily takes sex into account and is therefore prohibited under Title VII, the appeals court ruled that the trans boys are likely to succeed in their case and that preventing them from using the correct bathroom while the case works its way through the court system could cause irreparable harm.

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