The organization that filed a lawsuit in Minnesota last year to bar trans students from using locker rooms consistent with their gender identity today announced that they were dismissing their case.
A 15-year-old transgender girl, identified only as Jane Doe to protect her privacy, intervened in the case to protect her right to be an ordinary high school girl, free from the policies that the plaintiff sought to impose, which would have marginalized and segregated Doe from her classmates and teammates. The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Minnesota represented Jane.
A small group of parents, acting through an organization they named "Privacy Matters" and represented by the anti-LGBT legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a complaint against the Virginia (Minnesota) Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Education for protecting Doe from discrimination when using the locker room. The lawsuit singled Doe out from the rest of her volleyball team and used misleading innuendo and salacious phrasing to depict the ordinary behavior of a teenage girl dancing with the rest of her friends in the locker room as threatening or scandalous just because she is transgender.
"This lawsuit followed a familiar pattern of organizations and individuals mischaracterizing what happens in restrooms and locker rooms in order to target innocent transgender youth," said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT Project. "It's disappointing that Jane was ever subjected to this ordeal in the first place but we're glad to see anti-trans advocates recognize that spreading misinformation and innuendo won't hold up in court."
The ACLU argued in the case that Doe has a right to be free from discrimination on the basis of her sex under the Constitution and Title IX, a federal law which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. They also argued that using the girl's locker room and the restroom is a critical part of Jane's medical treatment, and has improved Jane's health and well-being.
"We are proud of Jane and her family for standing up for her rights and those of other transgender students," stated Teresa Nelson Interim Executive Director of the ACLU of Minnesota. "We are glad that the plaintiffs have abandoned their attempts to force the school to violate her rights. We would also like to thank the Virginia School District for standing with Jane and treating her with dignity and respect."
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in September of 2016. This case was similar to lawsuits around the country filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom and other anti-trans organizations which are trying to prevent transgender students from using the locker rooms and restrooms that match their 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.