Federal Court Rules in Favor of Pennsylvania School District’s Trans-Inclusive Policy

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released the following statement in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s unanimous decision upholding Boyertown Area School District’s LGBTQ-inclusive school policy.

“As the Trump-Pence Administration and anti-equality activists continue to attack our school children, federal courts nationwide are reaffirming the legal rights and dignity of transgender people,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “School should be a safe space for all youth, and we commend the Boyertown Area School District for not only implementing an LGBTQ-inclusive policy, but for fighting to protect their most vulnerable and marginalized students.”

On behalf of an anonymous group of students and parents, the notoriously anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed suit against the Boyertown Area School District, over an inclusive school policy that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. After ADF’s request was rejected in August, the case was sent to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which today upheld the school’s policy. 

Many federal courts have affirmed that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other federal nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination against transgender people, including with respect to restroom access. Just yesterday for example, a federal court once again ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who in 2014 successfully sued his school district over their discriminatory bathroom policy. That decision also reaffirmed a 2016 ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that held “a policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.


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