The federal appeals court in the United States ruled that a Florida high school’s policy prohibiting trans students from using bathrooms that reflect their gender identity is constitutional.
The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled by a vote of seven to four that requiring trans students to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender assigned at birth did not violate the US Constitution’s equal protection clause or federal civil rights law.
Drew Adams, a transgender man, challenged the policy and sued the school board in 2017 after being denied access to the boys’ restroom at Allen D Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Adams, who filed a lawsuit against the board, claiming that the trans bathroom ban violated Title IX, a civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination, as well as the equal protection clause of the constitution.
However, Circuit Judge Barbara Lagoa disagreed, writing for the majority in the ruling, which was announced on Friday (30 December), and stated that the school board policy has the important goal of protecting students’ privacy in school bathrooms.
Lagoa stated that it was “wrong” to suggest the bathroom policy “relied on impermissible stereotypes associated with Adam’s transgender status”.
The Trump appointee also added that Title IX allows separate restroom facilities based on the “plain and ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ in 1972.”
In response to the decision, Tara Borelli, a lawyer with Lambda Legal who represented Adams, explained that the team will be “reviewing and evaluating” the appeals court’s “dangerous decision.”
“This is an aberrant ruling that contradicts the rulings of every other circuit to consider the question across the country,” Borelli said, according to Reuters.