Yesterday, a federal ruled that Ashton Whitaker, a transgender high school student in Kenosha, Wisconsin, could use the restroom that corresponds to his gender identity.

Whitaker filed a federal lawsuit against the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) in July after he was denied access to the boys’ restroom. Additionally, school staff and security were recruited and instructed to prevent Ashton from using the boys’ restroom.

“U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper read her decision aloud from the bench, holding that Ash would continue to suffer irreparable harm if KUSD continued to deny him access to the boys’ restroom during his senior year,” Transgender Law Center reported. “In her decision, Judge Pepper explicitly recognized the emotional, psychological and physical harm Ash has endured under KUSD’s discriminatory policy and the importance to transgender people of being treated in accordance with their gender identity.”

The suit alleged that school personnel refused to used his name and pronouns, and the district also proposed he and other transgender students to wear green bracelets identifying them as transgender. This gross violation of rights goes against theDepartments of Education and Justice’s guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States placed a stay on a ruling from a lower court requiring a Virginia school district to permit transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The 5-3 order in Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm allows the school board’s discriminatory policy to remain in place while the Supreme Court considers whether to hear the case. A final decision in the case would likely occur well into the school year.

HRC congratulates Pledl & Cohn, S.C., Transgender Law Center and Relman, Dane & Colfax on this immense victory. 


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