The ACLU of Indiana today urged the Supreme Court of the United States to reject a petition from an Indiana school district targeting the rights of transgender students under Title IX.

In an August 2023 opinion, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found Vigo County School Corporation and the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville failed to provide several transgender students with access to bathrooms consistent with their gender in violation of their rights under Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs. This follows a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that discrimination against transgender workers by employers is a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits sex discrimination in employment. 

In its brief in opposition to the school’s request for Supreme Court review, the ACLU of Indiana argued that the Court does not have jurisdiction to take up the case and that the court of appeals correctly applied that 2020 precedent as it applies to transgender students under Title IX. 

“Every family should be able to trust their child will be treated with the same rights and respect as every other student. But policies that discriminate against transgender students deny them the same chance to learn and thrive as their peers, and cause them severe risk of both emotional and physical harm,” said ACLU of Indiana legal director, Ken Falk. “Denying transgender youth equal access to school facilities does nothing to keep other students safe and instead puts transgender students themselves in danger.”

In a 2019 Harvard University analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, one in three (36%) transgender adolescents with restricted bathroom or locker room access were sexually assaulted in the past 12 months, compared to one in four (26%) of transgender students broadly and 15% of non-transgender girls. 

In November 2023, a separate petition was filed to the Supreme Court on behalf of families and medical providers challenging Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender people under 18. That brief was filed by the ACLU, the ACLU of Tennessee, Lambda Legal, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. 

The LGBT Project of Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm and largest provider of free civil legal assistance to low-income Hoosiers, served as co-counsel on the school restroom cases. The Project’s focus is to provide legal advocacy and representation to LGBTQ+ community of Indiana.