A transgender student has sued a northwest suburban school district, alleging her school has made it difficult to access public accommodations facilities.
The lawsuit was filed Nov. 30 in Cook County Circuit Court against Palatine-based Township District 211, which was at the center of controversy a few years ago when another transgender student filed a similar suit and the case became the focus of litigation, federal intervention and media attention as controversies about public accommodations-access and transgender persons began to ignite.
The Nov. 30 lawsuit alleges that Nova Maday, an 18-year-old transgender student at Palatine High School, has been prohibited from using the girls' locker room to change before and after gym class. Maday was instructed to either change in either a separate, locked changing room or the school nurse's office. That arrangement has resulted in Maday frequently being late for class; she maintains that she spends an inordinate amount of her time trying to find someone to help her access the changing facilities.
"It was almost impossible to get into these separate facilities, change and get to class on time," said Maday in a statement from ACLU of Illinois, whose lawyers are among those representing her in the suit. "This would make the P.E. teacher upset and I'd feel more anxious and isolated. But more importantly having to dress separately from the other girls was pretty devastating to me because it felt like the school was telling me I'm not really a girl or that there is something wrong with me."
A transgender student alleged similar discrimination some years back, leading to the school endangering its federal funding under Title IX rules when the Obama administration's Department of Education ( DOE ) became involved. Many community members objected to the eventual DOE settlement, and parents of some students sued to keep the school's changing and washroom facilities' access determined by gender assigned at birth. The community's state representative also filed an anti-transgender "bathroom bill" in response to the situation; that legislation quickly failed.
Although District 211 settled the case with the first student, they never implemented a districtwide policy change, said Maday.
"I just want to be treated like every other girl in our school," she added. "Even after the school district agreed to allow another transgender student to use the locker rooms in her school, they have resisted and made things harder for me. I just want to be able to get dressed for P.E. class without having to jump through a bunch of hoops."
"It is clear that this school district still discriminates against students who are transgender," said John Knight, LGBTQ Project director at ACLU of Illinois. "Nova should be able to use the appropriate locker room and take P.E. like other students, without imposing restrictions on her that no other student is required to follow. "We want this district's policies to be fair for all students, so that no student is separated from her peers or labeled as different because they are transgender."
More information at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Unfair-treatment-of-trans-students-again-challenged-in-High-School-District-211/61239.html .