St. Paul, Minn - The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota along with the ACLU filed a motion to intervene on behalf of a transgender student in a lawsuit that seeks to bar trans students from using locker rooms consistent with the student's gender identity.
A transgender girl, identified as Jane Doe to protect her privacy, is a sophomore in high school at a public school in Virginia, MN. Last year she played on the girls' basketball and track team, and she currently plays on the girls' volleyball team. A small group of parents, acting through an organization they have named "Privacy Matters", have filed a complaint against Doe's school district and the U.S. Department of Education for protecting Doe from discrimination when using the locker room.
The lawsuit seeks to segregate Doe from her peers and prevent her from using the girls' locker room and singles her out from the rest of the team using misleading innuendo and salacious phrasing to depict the ordinary behavior of a teenage girl dancing with the rest of her friends as threatening or scandalous just because she is transgender.
"This lawsuit has been devastating to my daughter and our family. She just wants to live a normal life," stated the mother of Jane Doe, identified as Sarah Doe in the lawsuit.
"Jane Doe wants what all of us want, to be accepted for who she is and participate as a member of the team, just like any other girl," stated Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. "It is hard enough being a teenager, without being de-humanized and targeted with these false and sensational allegations."
Doe's brief argues that she has a right to be free from discrimination on the basis of her sex under Title IX, a federal law which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding, and under the Constitution. The brief also explains that using the girls' locker room and restroom is a critical part of Doe's medical treatment and has had a substantial positive effect on Doe's health and well-being.
"Providing inclusive and nondiscriminatory treatment to Jane Doe does not threaten anyone else's privacy. The entire team talks, listens to music, and dances in the locker room as part of team camaraderie, and it is unfortunate that Plaintiffs have singled Jane Doe out from the rest of her teammates with these sensational allegations just because she is transgender," stated Joshua Block, senior staff attorney at the ACLU. "Schools can provide extra privacy protections or alternative changing areas for any student uncomfortable changing with the rest of the team, but no student has a right to unilaterally demand that transgender teammates be segregated from the team locker room."
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in September of 2016. This case is similar to lawsuits filed around the country that are trying to prevent transgender students from using the locker rooms and restrooms that match the student's gender identity.
Cooperating attorneys in the case include: Timothy Griffin, Brian Thomson, Andrew Davis and Ivan Ludmer of Stinson Leonard Street along with Teresa Nelson of the ACLU-MN and Joshua Block of the ACLU.