Seventh Circuit Court Upholds Preliminary Injunction Requiring Indiana Schools to Give Transgender Students Access to Correct Bathrooms
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has again affirmed that transgender students must have access to the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities. It upheld the lower courts’ preliminary injunctions Tuesday evening, requiring two Indiana schools to provide equal treatment to transgender students.
The lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU of Indiana) and Indiana Legal Services (ILS) claim Vigo County School Corporation and the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville failed to provide several transgender students with access to the bathrooms consistent with their gender.
The Court of Appeals found that the district courts were correct in concluding that the students were likely to succeed in their claims that by denying them the same facility access as their peers, these schools are violating both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681(a).
“Students who are denied access to the appropriate facilities are caused both serious emotional and physical harm as they are denied recognition of who they are. They will often avoid using the restroom altogether while in school,” said Kenneth Falk, ACLU of Indiana attorney. “Schools should be a safe place for kids and the refusal to allow a student to use the correct facilities can be extremely damaging.”
"Along with the ACLU, we celebrate the Court of Appeals' decision that affirms that school officials must treat these students as the boys they are," said Megan Stuart, director of advocacy and director of the LGBT Project. "Indiana Legal Services is proud of our work helping LGBTQ+ Hoosiers whose rights have been violated and in expanding the law to ensure LGBTQ+ people can live safe, long lives.”
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-council on these cases. The Project’s focus is to provide legal advocacy and representation to LGBTQ+ community of Indiana.
The opinion issued by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals requires both school districts to continue to allow the plaintiffs access to the correct facilities while litigation continues.