ORLANDO, Fla. — A female student in Florida who identifies as a male has filed a lawsuit along with her parents in an effort to obtain access to the boys’ restroom and locker room facilities.
The 15-year-old, who is only being identified as John Doe in the legal challenge, has suffered from gender dysphoria since she was in the second grade. According to the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a “gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning.”
The youth’s parents had her named changed to a boy’s name during the third grade, and she began presenting herself as male. She also underwent hormone replacement therapy in middle school and had chest reconstruction surgery last year.
Throughout her schooling in Volusia County, the student has requested to use the boys’ restroom and locker room, and has been directed to use the single occupancy restrooms as a compromise. However, her parents state that this has upset the child at times because she feels segregated from others due to her condition.
“Behind these unlawful and discriminatory practices is a child who is suffering. VCSB’s conduct, which ostracizes John from the other boys in [her] class simply because [she] is transgender, causes John overwhelming distress and anxiety,” the lawsuit reads. “The distress and anxiety has gone so far as to manifest itself in a condition called trichotillomania, which causes John to pull out [her] own eyelashes.”
“John loves sports and wants to try out for [her] high school boys’ basketball team,” it also outlines. “However, each time the stigma and humiliation of not being able to change in the boys’ locker room with his teammates keeps John from trying out for the team.”
The teen’s parents and attorney are therefore seeking an injunction against the Volusia County School Board to obtain access to the boys’ restroom and locker room and to “otherwise treat [the student] as a boy in all respects.” They argue that the board’s policies and practices violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sex, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
As previously reported, the Trump administration disagrees with the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX, and overturned a directive last March that mandated public schools to allow male students that identify as female to use the girls’ facilities, and vice versa.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor also issued an injunction against the directives in October 2016, stating, “It cannot be disputed that the plain meaning of the term sex … following passage of Title IX meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”
“Without question, permitting educational institutions to provide separate housing to male and female students, and separate educational instruction concerning human sexuality, was to protect students’ personal privacy, or discussion of their personal privacy, while in the presence of members of the opposite biological sex,” he explained.
Nancy Wait, director of community information for Volusia County Schools, told the Daytona Beach News Journal that the district bases communal restroom use on biological sex, and that the requirement is in step with both federal and state law.
“Group restroom and locker room usages at district schools are based on biological sex. Our schools offer single-use restroom and changing area alternatives while respecting the privacy of all students,” she outlined. “[Our practice of] maintaining gender-specific group restrooms and locker rooms is fully compliant with state and federal law and the norm in the workplace and schools.”
Wait also noted that the district prohibits bullying and/or harassment of students with gender dysphoria, and that disciplinary action may be taken against those who mistreat others. She likewise stated that Volusia County Schools does accommodate students in regard to preferred pronouns or name changes.
Romans 9:20 reads, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?'”