Transgender rights activists won two cases last week in Florida and Idaho.
At issue were restroom access and birth certificates.
“Today, the court sent a clear message that schools must treat transgender students with the same dignity and respect as any other student,” said Tara Borelli, counsel at Lambda Legal, in a press release Aug. 7. “The trial court was correct when it ruled that the law requires that Drew Adams be treated like every other boy and be allowed to use the boys’ restroom. We are glad the court saw the school board’s policy as unjust and discriminatory, and affirmed the inherent dignity of transgender students.”
Adams attended Nease High School in the Jacksonville suburbs. He used the boys' restroom until an anonymous complaint prompted school officials to force him to use only gender-neutral restrooms.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled the St. John’s County School Board discriminated against Adams based on sex and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Friday’s ruling by the federal court upheld the decision made by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida which also ruled the school violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Adams, 19, now attends the University of Central Florida where he is studying psychology and political science.
“I am very happy to see justice prevail, after spending almost my entire high school career fighting for equal treatment,” Adams said in a press release. “High school is hard enough without having your school separate you from your peers and mark you as inferior. I hope this decision helps save other transgender students from having to go through that painful and humiliating experience.”
Elsewhere, in Boise, Idaho, a federal court rejected Gov. Brad Little’s attempt to prevent Idahoans from changing gender markers on their birth certificates. It was the Republican-led Idaho legislature’s second attempt to ban birth certificate changes since 2017.
“When you treat the federal court like a doormat, there are going to be consequences,” said Nora Huppert, a Renberg Fellow and attorney with Lambda Legal, in a press release. “The rule of law comes to a grinding halt if government officials can act as if they are above the law that the rest of us are expected to follow.”