A federal judge ruled Monday that a school district in Ohio must treat a transgender boy “like the girl she is” and allow him unfettered access to a girl’s bathroom, according to local reports.
Judge Algenon Marbley, a Bill Clinton appointee, also said that Highland Local School District must treat the boy as a girl in all other aspects, using his chosen female name and referring to him with female pronouns at all times, reports The Blade, in Toledo, O.H.
Highland sued the federal government in June after the Obama administration ordered it to allow the boy, identified only as “Jane Doe” in court documents, to use a girls’ bathroom, or else risk the loss of more than $1 million in federal funding. The order stems from a May decree by the Departments of Education and Justice holding that the federal Title IX law requires all public schools to let students use a bathroom that matches their chosen gender identity.
Title IX only prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, but the Obama administration maintains that gender identity falls under the umbrella of sex. In its lawsuit, Highland argued the administration was simply illegally rewriting federal law.
Doe, meanwhile, has been pursuing a civil rights complaint against Highland since late 2013. Besides ordering Highland to let Doe use whatever bathroom he wants, the federal government also told the school district that it needs to hire a gender-identity consultant who can train staff members to be properly sensitive on issues of gender identity.
The two cases collided in the ruling Monday. There is “certainly no evidence” that girls at Highland’s schools will have their well-being harmed by sharing facilities with a biological male, Marbley said. All showers at Doe’s school are curtained off, and toilets all have their own stalls, minimizing the risk that girls would encounter a penis in the bathroom, he added.
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