In November 2017, Nova Maday sued Township High School District 211 in state court for discrimination after the District denied her use of the school locker rooms because she is transgender. Ms. Maday asked the court to give her immediate relief from discrimination, so that she could  use the locker room without discriminatory restrictions and participate in gym with her fellow students during the final semester of her senior. Nova’s struggle to use the locker room began when she was a sophomore and continued all the way through her graduation from Palatine High School.  At first, Ms. Maday was denied any use of the locker room (and was initially forced to change in a separate place from all the other students) until her senior year when she was told that she could use the locker room, but only if she used a separate space inside the locker room to dress.  

In November of 2019, the District 211 Board voted to approve a new policy intended to grant transgender students the same use of the locker room as that provided to non-transgender students. Under that policy, girls who are transgender will now be able to use the girls ‘locker room without the kind of restrictions that were placed on Nova and other transgender students by the District in the past. Ms. Maday actively participated in the public debate about this policy, making emotional and persuasive comments to the school board as they were considering this new policy. 

In February 2020, Nova was able to resolve her case with District 211, after its Board of Education approved a settlement with her. Under that agreement, the District is required to compensate Nova for the devastating experience it put her through during her final year of high school. Nova did not take on this fight in order for compensation, but to force the District to change its policy. She is hopeful, however, that the $150,000 the District paid to her and her attorneys will serve as a discouragement to other school districts who might otherwise choose to discriminate against a transgender student.

This agreement was only possible because Nova bravely stood up for her dignity, after being subjected to unfair treatment simply because she is transgender.

Find more information about our work in District 211 on behalf of students who are transgender in another case, Students and Parents for Privacy.


John Knight and Ghirlandi Guidetti (ACLU of Illinois), Jeffrey H. Bergman (Mandell Menkes LLC), Neil Lloyd, Jamie Davis, and Carly Weiss (Schiff Hardin LLP)

Date filed

November 30, 2017


Circuit Court of Cook County


Honorable Thomas R. Allen



Case number

17 CH 15791