Another transgender student claims discrimination over bathroom, locker room use

Font Size:

It’s back-to-school time across America and you know what that means: a fresh supply of stories about transgender students demanding special treatment—particularly when it comes to bathrooms and locker rooms.

The latest spat involves an expelled transgender student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown who has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the school violated her civil rights by preventing her from using men’s locker rooms and restrooms, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The student, Seamus Johnston, was born female but identifies as a male. Johnston has undergone several months of hormone treatment recently.

The lawsuit was filed Monday. The suit claims that the school violated federal anti-discrimination laws. Johnston is representing herself.

A Pitt spokesman told the Tribune-Review that the school plans to defend the legal challenge “vigorously.”

The events leading up to the lawsuit are nothing if not interesting.

Johnston was expelled from Pitt-Johnstown for repeatedly using the men’s locker room despite the school’s order that she not do so, explains the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Johnston, 22, and her partner, Katherine Anne McCloskey, 56, filmed an attempted (and failed) series of citizen’s arrests at the Pitt-Johnstown campus. McCloskey did the arresting. Johnston filmed the events. (The antics can be seen at the end of a collection of clips from WPXI on YouTube.)

“We believe that you are a female and that your campus ID indicates you are a female,” an unidentified staffer firmly explains after he was accosted by the couple. “Your application form indicates you are a female. You went into a men’s locker room. You are not permitted to do that.”

Later, the FBI focused on Johnston and McCloskey during an investigation of some bomb threats made at the main Pitt in Pittsburgh. The FBI questioned the couple in 2012. There was also a federal grand jury that threatened at times to dissolve into a circus.

In May, Johnston pleaded guilty to charges in county criminal court of trespassing and disorderly conduct related to the men’s locker room fracas. The sentence was 90-days probation.

The Post-Gazette notes that Johnston declared in a prior complaint with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations that the Social Security Administration found her disabled “for a variety of emotional liabilities that included gender identity disorder.”

Follow Eric on Twitter and send education-related story tips to