Federal Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Trans Students’ Civil Rights, While Florida Still Waits for 11th Circuit Ruling On Issue
In February, another federal appeals court (the Ninth Circuit) ruled that allowing transgender students to use certain restrooms and locker rooms does not violate the rights of other students, citing another victory for civil rights. Those who brought the lawsuit challenged one school’s protection of trans students’ rights to use the bathroom or locker room that most closely aligns with their gender identity versus biological sex, arguing that the policy violated Title IX, which protects students from sex discrimination in education.
Specifically, plaintiffs’ argument in the case was that if an individual is trans, their use of the restroom automatically becomes an act of sexual harassment simply because Title IX authorizes sex-segregated facilities. They also argued the following, which the panel disagreed with:
- That there is a Fourteenth Amendment fundamental privacy right to avoid all risk of intimate exposure to or by a transgender individual who was assigned a different biological sex that was being violated. The panel found that not only does this right not exist, but the school provided privacy protections to anyone who did not want to share facilities with transgender students; and
- The school district’s policy violates the First Amendment right to freely exercise one’s religion and control the upbringing and education of one’s children.
Florida School District Takes a Different Approach & Loses
Meanwhile, a number of states have introduced legislation targeting trans students and additional lawsuits similar to this one have also been filed attacking trans students’ rights, even though these claims continue to be rejected by courts around the country. In December, one Florida school district argued to the 11h Circuit Court of Appeals that it should overturn a lower court ruling and allow the district to restrict students to the bathroom that matches their biological sex assigned at birth in order to protect the privacy of other students. The 11th Circuit’s ruling would cover schools in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and could also result in the issue being carried to the US Supreme Court, which has, thus far, declined to review similar cases. This has, by default, allowed policies supporting transgender students to continue. According to reports, there had not been a single complaint from any student in the district; rather, the district was simply “proactively trying to protect students’ privacy interests.”
If Your Rights Have Been Violated in Florida, Contact Our Orlando Civil Rights Attorneys
If your civil rights as a student have been violated here in Florida, contact our Orlando civil rights lawyers at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can work to ensure that they are defended and restored, and that you are compensated for any harm done.