Suit Against Maine Public School Alleges Discrimination Against Transgender Student

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From the Bangor (Maine) Daily News:

A Superior Court judge will decide whether a lawsuit filed by an Orono couple over the local school district’s handling of their transgender child’s transition from male to female will go forward.

A transgender person is born one biological sex but identifies himself or herself as belonging to the opposite gender.

Justice William Anderson heard oral arguments on motions for summary judgments Wednesday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center. His questions for attorneys centered on whether the school district broke the law in 2007 when it stopped letting the child use the girls bathroom and had her use a staff bathroom after the grandfather and legal guardian of a male classmate complained.

“This is a close case,” Anderson said at the end of the hourlong hearing. “It’s a very interesting case and a very important case.”

It is the first case in Maine to address a transgender student’s right to use the bathroom of the gender with which he or she identifies.

There is no timetable under which the judge must issue his decision, but Anderson said at the end of Wednesday’s hearing that it would be “fairly quickly.” The case tentatively is scheduled to go to trial in November or December. The plaintiffs have asked for a jury-waived trial.

The child’s parents — on her behalf, along with the Maine Human Rights Commission — sued the district in November 2009 in Penobscot County Superior Court over her access to the girls bathroom and the school’s treatment of her. The lawsuit was filed five months after the commission found the school had discriminated against the girl.

Read the full article here.

-Bridget Crawford

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