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Evansville Transgender Student Wins Court Fight

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Education, Law, Statewide News
(Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation)
(Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation)

The Evansville school district violated a transgender student’s rights by restricting access to the bathroom of the student’s identified gender, according to a new court ruling.

An Evansville student, who was born female, has identified as male since he was 11 years old. And when, in high school, he wanted to use the boys’ restroom, the school district said no. The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit in 2018.

The student took hormone therapy and, as federal Judge William Lawrence writes, “he is very unlikely to be mistaken for a girl at this point.” Yet the school argued that only if the student’s birth certificate were changed could he use the boys’ restroom – and even then, the school might still stop him. It did offer him a gender-neutral bathroom, but it was frequently unavailable.

Judge Lawrence says the school violated both Title IX and the 14th Amendment. And the student might be eligible for money from the district; that would be decided later by a jury.

The ACLU says it hopes the ruling puts other Indiana school districts on notice.