Minn. Court hold that students can use locker room based on self-identified gender
Oct 2, 2020
On Monday, a court of appeals for the state of Minnesota ruled that public schools must now allow students to use locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
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The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought against the Anoka-Hennepin School District by the parents of a biological female high school student who identifies as male (identified in the complaint as “N.H.”). The parents claimed that the district violated their child’s rights to equal protection under the Minnesota Human Rights Act when it forced the student, who was on the boys’ swimming team, to use a segregated locker room.
The appeals court ruled in favor of the parents and found it is unlawful to segregate students from their peers because of their self-identified gender. “N.H. identifies as male, has socially transitioned to male, and lives as a male. Others also identify him as male and treat him as male. Based on this record, we conclude that N.H. is similarly situated to his peers because he, like his peers, sought to use a locker room that corresponded with his gender identity,” Judge Peter Reyes wrote in the majority opinion.
Judge Matthew Johnson disagreed with the majority, saying N.H. was not “similarly situated in all relevant aspects” to her peers and does not have an equal protection claim because when she attended Coon Rapids High School from 2015 through 2017 she likely had the anatomy of a female.
“The anatomical differences between transgender boys and cisgender boys are relevant for the obvious reason that they are visible when boys shower or change clothes in shared spaces,” Johnson wrote.
Tennessee’s civil rights law was amended in 2011 to say that “sex” is that which is found on a person’s birth certificate.
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