August 15, 2016 4:47 pm

Statement on Hearing in District 211/Transgender Student Case

Earlier today, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert heard oral arguments from lawyers in a case that will decide whether a female student, who is transgender, and other transgender students will be able to continue using the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The argument is the latest development regarding suburban Chicago District 211, which reached an agreement with the United States Department of Education allowing Student A – the young woman – to use the girls’ locker rooms at school. In May, a group of parents and students calling themselves Students and Parents for Privacy (“SPP”) filed a lawsuit with the help of two anti-LGBT legal organizations to challenge the agreement, as well as District 211’s practice of allowing Student A and other transgender students to use gender-appropriate restrooms. The ACLU represents Student A through her mother, as well as two other transgender children who attend, or will attend, District 211 schools through their parents, and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, who were permitted to intervene in the case. Judge Gilbert announced that he will make a ruling in the future after considering the arguments and briefs filed in the case.

The following can be attributed to John Knight of the ACLU of Illinois:

John Knight, Director, LGBT and HIV Project

John Knight, Director, LGBT and HIV Project

This morning’s hearings clearly illustrated two important facts.  First, the lawyers for the plaintiffs refuse to recognize that Student A is a girl and that transgender students must be treated according to their gender identity for purposes of gendered spaces such as restroom and locker rooms.  Their confusion and insensitivity was demonstrated anew by the lawyers’ decision to mis-gender our client and to assert that transgender people are delusional while intersex persons are “imperfections of nature.”

At the same time, the plaintiffs failed to explain or demonstrate any harm to female students sharing the locker room with Student A, while failing to recognize the clear harm that would result from the relief that have sought – exclusion of Student A and other transgender students  from the  restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, which challenges their basic identity and humanity, suggests that they should be ashamed of who they are, and puts them at serious of long-term emotional and psychological injury. 

We are confident that the judge will recognize the harm being done to our clients and other transgender students and deny the motion for a preliminary injunction. 

Learn more about the case, Parents and Students for Privacy v. District 211