A transgender student filed a lawsuit against a Wisconsin school district Tuesday, alleging that the district won’t let him use the boys’ restrooms and repeatedly uses his female birth name, violating federal anti-discrimination laws and the U.S. Constitution.
The Transgender Law Center and the civil rights law firm Relman, Dane and Colfax PLLC filed the federal lawsuit in Milwaukee against the Kenosha school district. The filing states Ashton Whitaker, a 16-year-old student at Tremper High School, was designated a girl on his birth certificate but began identifying as a boy in middle school.
The suit claims the district denied him access to boys’ restroom facilities and directed staff to monitor his restroom usage, forcing him and other transgender students to wear green wristbands to help staff recognize them. As a result, Whitaker drastically reduced his liquid intake, aggravating a medical condition that causes him to faint, and suffered stress migraines, according to the lawsuit.
Teachers also continue to call Whitaker by his female birth name, he had to room with girls on an orchestra trip to Europe and the principal initially denied him the ability to run for junior prom king. School officials relented only after his classmates protested, the lawsuit stated.
The district’s actions violate Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as the Constitution’s equal protection guarantees, the lawsuit argues.
“Transgender youth are struggling with the issue of their identity, but if they’re not received well by people around them, then they can have additional psychological problems and so this has been very stressful for him,” Rock Pledl, Whitaker’s attorney said, according to Fox 6 Milwaukee.
“The degree to which the administration has just continued to harass him over and over and raising the stakes when you’d think it’d be the opposite. You’d think they’d be looking for a way to make his life at that high school more pleasant.”
Whitaker said in a news release that the district’s actions have made his life miserable and he’s worried about how he’ll navigate his upcoming senior year.
An attorney for the Kenosha district said Wednesday he is certain the district will win the lawsuit.
“The district is confident that when the litigation process establishes accurate facts and applies them to the proper legal standards, its policies and practices will be found to be in total compliance with all laws,” Ron Stadler said in an email sent by the district’s communication director to Kenosha News.
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SOURCE: Fox News, The Associated Press