Case Targeting Rights of Minnesota Transgender Teen Dropped

Affiliate: ACLU of Minnesota
April 13, 2017 5:15 pm

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — An organization that filed a federal lawsuit last year to bar transgender students from using locker rooms consistent with their gender identity today announced that they have voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Minnesota had intervened in the case on behalf of a transgender girl, identified as Jane Doe to protect her privacy. A small group of parents, acting through an organization they have named “Privacy Matters” and represented by the anti-LGBT legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a complaint against Doe’s school district and the U.S. Department of Education for protecting Doe from discrimination when using the locker room. The lawsuit singled Doe out from the rest of her volleyball team and used misleading innuendo and salacious phrasing to depict the ordinary behavior of a teenage girl dancing with the rest of her friends in the locker room as threatening or scandalous just because she is transgender.

“This lawsuit followed a familiar pattern of organizations and individuals mischaracterizing what happens in restrooms and locker rooms in order to target innocent transgender youth,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “It’s disappointing that Jane was ever subjected to this ordeal in the first place, but we’re glad to see anti-trans advocates recognize that spreading misinformation and innuendo won’t hold up in court.”

The ACLU argued in the case that Doe has a right to be free from discrimination on the basis of her sex under Title IX, a federal law which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding, and under the Constitution. The ACLU also noted how using the girls’ locker room and restroom is a critical part of Jane’s medical treatment and has had a substantial positive effect on Jane’s health and well-being.

“We are proud of Jane and her family for standing up for her rights and those of other transgender students,” said Teresa Nelson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota. “We are glad that the plaintiffs have abandoned their attempts to force the school to violate her rights. We would also like to thank the Virginia School District for standing with Jane and treating her with dignity and respect.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in September of 2016. This case is similar to lawsuits filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom and other anti-trans organizations around the country that are trying to prevent transgender students from using the locker rooms and restrooms that match their gender identity.

The attorneys in the case include Timothy Griffin, Brian Thomson, Andrew Davis, and Ivan Ludmer of Stinson Leonard Street; Nelson of the ACLU of Minnesota; and Block of the ACLU.

The dismissal can be found here:

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