A federal appeals court declared it unconstitutional for a Florida school district to require students to use the restroom correlated with their biological sex.
All schools must permit transgender students to use restrooms of their choice and they should not be penalized for nonconformity.
The court issued a 2-1 decision in student Drew Adams’ favor written by U.S. Circuit Judge Beverly Martin.
“Neither may a public school harm transgender students by establishing arbitrary, separate rules for their restroom use,” Martin wrote for the majority.
A district judge supported Adams, and the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court.
Adams, born female, identifies as male and wanted access to the boys’ restroom.
He asserted the school violated Title IX (1972) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The court maintained Title IX protects students from discrimination based on transgender status.
Both titles prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex.
“Even if Congress never contemplated that Title VII could forbid discrimination against transgender people, the ‘starkly broad terms’ of the statute require nothing less,” Martin wrote. “This reasoning applies with the same force to Title IX’s equally broad prohibition on sex discrimination.”
Adams started transitioning in the eighth grade.
“I am very happy to see justice prevail, after spending almost my entire high school career fighting for equal treatment,” said Adams, who is a former student at Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
“High school is hard enough without having your school separate you from your peers and mark you as inferior. I hope this decision helps save other transgender students from having to go through that painful and humiliating experience.”