Federal Judge in Oregon Sides With Trans Students on School Bathrooms


This week, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that forcing trans students to use restrooms that don’t correspond with their gender identity violates their civil rights and contributes to their trauma.

The New York Times reports that Portland federal judge Marco A. Hernández dismissed claims from other students and parents who said that they face “embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, intimidation, fear, apprehension and stress produced by using the restroom with students of the opposite sex.” On his ruling, Hernández wrote, “Forcing transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity would undoubtedly harm those students and prevent them from equally accessing educational opportunities and resources.”

Oregon’s ruling is a stark contrast to North Carolina, which is in the middle of litigating a second transphobic bathroom bill. Yet the opinion is one of a handful of recent court rulings across the country that protect trans rights, notes Harper Jean Tobin, policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. Pointing to recent decisions in Pennsylvania and Illinois, where courts ruled in favor of trans students, Tobin said, “Collectively, what these lines of cases have done is send a strong message to schools that transgender students are part of every school community.”

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