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Illinois ACLU Defends Transgender Student's Right To Use Girl's Locker Room

By aaroncynic in News on May 10, 2016 6:33PM

We think Illinois could use more gender neutral bathrooms, actually. Via Shutterstock.

The Illinois American Civil Liberties Union says it will step in to defend a transgender student in a lawsuit filed against a school district in suburban Palatine.

Last week, a group of families sued the Department of Education, Department of Justice and District 211 for allowing a transgender student access to the girl’s locker room. In December, the District agreed to provide access for the student, known as Student A after the Department of Education found that prohibiting access was in violation of Title IX, which bans discrimination based on sex. According to the Daily Herald, The Alliance Defending Freedom and Thomas More Society then filed suit alleging the Department of Ed. is misinterpreting the law.

“Every day of the school year a certain number of girls have to share the locker room space with a biological male and it makes them incredibly uncomfortable, stressed and anxious about the things going on in their school day,” Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney with the firm opposing the student's access to the girl's locker roomtold the Huffington Post.

Not everyone of course, believes that “freedom” means the right for bigots to discriminate against people based on their gender identity, however. On Tuesday, the ACLU said it would file a court motion to intervene on behalf of Student A.

“A number of parents and students from District 211 have contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to express their concern and dismay about this development,” Communications and Public Policy Director Ed Yohnka said in a statement first reported by Politico. “Many have expressed anger at the misstatements and factual inaccuracies advanced by those filing the lawsuit last week. More have voiced concern about any effort to reverse policies that treat all students, including those who are transgender, in a fair and equitable way.”

Bathroom access for transgender people has become a national discussion after North Carolina passed its own controversial bathroom bill. CNN reports on Monday the Department of Justice filed a civil rights lawsuit over the bill, known as HB2. The DOJ is threatening to yank federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina if they comply with the law, which bans people from using restrooms that don’t correspond with their initial biologically assigned gender.

"It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had other signs above restrooms, water fountains, and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. “We've moved beyond those dark days.”

Similar transphobic legislation which stems from the case in District 211 was assigned to the Illinois House Human Services Committee in Springfield in March. Since then two more cosponsors have signed on and it has been referred to the Rules Committee. The ACLU said it would oppose that measure as well.