On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal that challenged an Oregon public school district’s policy permitting transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.
In 2017, a small group of parents filed a lawsuit against Dallas High School after it adopted a new policy that would accommodate transgender students.
According to Reuters, the school adopted the policy after a biological female who identifies as male, asked to use the boys’ restroom and locker rooms in 2015.
For three years, the student would use both facilities until they graduated.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued that allowing transgender students to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity violated the privacy rights of other students as well as religious freedom under the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, students could have a sense of fear and embarrassment for sharing a private space with someone of the opposite sex.
According to court papers, the students were given the choice by the school to use single-occupancy facilities if they had concerns. Regardless of concerns, the school district asserted that the transgender student and other boys “never actually did see each other undressing.”
In February, the lawsuit was thrown out by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court in hopes that the justices would “strike the proper balance between the rights of (transgender) students and the rest of the school community.”
In recent years, the issue regarding gender-specific facilities by transgender people in schools and beyond has often resulted in litigations across the nation.
The nation’s highest court had previously canceled plans to hear a case from Virginia involving bathroom access in public schools in 2017.
In June of this year, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that workplace discrimination against gay and transgender employees was prohibited by federal law. Despite the ruling, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch clarified that the decision was not addressing “bathrooms, locker rooms or anything else of the kind.”
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.