Parents in a rural school district south of Portland, Ore., have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging a school policy that allows a biological female to use the boys’ locker room. The lawsuit, filed Nov. 13, joins a trend of legal challenges from students and parents who say school administrators have dismissed their concerns over privacy and transgender accommodation policies.
The privacy rights of all students must be considered when making accommodations for gender dysphoric youth, said Herbert Grey, attorney for a group of current and former students, their parents, and two privacy advocacy groups. An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon called the lawsuit “cruel” but not a credible threat to transgender student rights.
Until this year, Elliot Yoder, a 16-year-old girl who wants to be treated as a boy, had not taken advantage of a 2015 school district policy allowing her to use the facilities that correspond with her gender identity. But Yoder recently asked to use the boys’ locker room to change clothes before gym class. She previously used a gender-neutral restroom but said it was too far from the gym.
Grey said the policy allowing a girl to change clothes with boys puts the boys in an uncomfortable situation and violates their right to privacy.
In a similar lawsuit in Pennsylvania, a female student who identifies as male was allowed, without any notification to students or parents, to use the boys’ locker room. The parents of three Boyertown Area School District students lost their lawsuit in the lower courts but have appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. —B.P.