Oregon Transgender Students Win Right to Use Preferred Bathroom

A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit that tried to dismantle protections for transgender students in Dallas, Oregon. The lawsuit sought to overturn the Dallas School District’s policy of allowing students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) intervened in the case earlier this year on behalf of Basic Rights Oregon, a statewide LGBTQ group, to defend the rights of transgender and nonbinary students in school.

A small group of parents and students, acting through the organizations “Parents for Privacy” and “Parents Rights in Education,” filed a complaint last November against the Dallas School District and other state and federal officials for the district’s policy of protecting a transgender student from discrimination when using the locker room. The court wholly rejected their claims, finding schools are not only permitted, but required, to treat transgender students equally under the law. Similar lawsuits have been rejected by other courts around the country.

Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney at the ACLU, said these types of claims help no one and put transgender students at risk.

“The judge understood that transgender students just using restrooms and lockers like everyone else does not violate anyone’s rights. In fact, it would violate students’ rights to keep them out of the facilities their peers use just because they are transgender,” Arkles said. “These cases are a part of a nationwide trend targeting transgender young people, and we are proud to defend students’ safety, dignity, and access to education.”

Mat dos Santos, legal director at the Oregon affiliate of the ACLU, said the group would fight a similar lawsuit recently filed in Sutherlin, Oregon.

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