Victory for trans students in Pennsylvania as court rejects appeal


Trans and gender-nonconforming students at a school district in Pennsylvania will let out a sigh of relief today (28 May) after the Supreme Court struck down an attack on them using preferred bathrooms.

Justices rejected an appeal from students in the Boyertown School District who argued the inclusive policy violated their privacy.

As a result, trans pupils can continue to choose which facilities best align with their gender.

What happened?

The school district, around 45 miles northeast of Philadelphia, introduced a trans-inclusive policy for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The policy enabled trans students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.

According to the Washington Examiner, the student at the center of the case, Joel Doe, filed a lawsuit challenging the policy.

Doe asked courts to restore a previous rule allowing for single-sex, multi-user locker rooms and restrooms.

The federal district court, however, denied Doe’s request, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

The appeals court said it upheld the policy because it ‘served a compelling interest — preventing discrimination against transgender students — and was narrowly tailored to that interested.’

Moreover, the Alliance Defending Freedom backed the appeal; a notoriously homophobic Christian legal group.

There is only one high school in the district, Boyertown Area Senior High School, which is located in the outer suburbs of Philadelphia.

LGBTI rights in Pennsylvania

The coal state is known for steel manufacturing, NFL football teams, and its vibrant LGBTI community.

But it was actually the final Mid-Atlantic state to legalize marriage equal (courts overturned the statutory ban in 2014). Moreover, there is no blanket ban on discrimination.

Instead, it’s all patchy. Some cities – such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – ban it, yet others do not.

When it comes to gender identity and expression, surgery is no longer a requirement for trans people to change their gender on legal documents. It has been so since 2016.

See also

Pennsylvania governor nominee: ‘Born with male plumbing? Use the men’s restroom’

Brian Sims helps introduce new anti-discrimination bill in Pennsylvania

Report reveals at least 300 ‘predator priests’ in Pennsylvania

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