Transgender students just won a huge federal court case

Activists and protesters with the National Center for Transgender Equality rally in front of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Washington, after the Department of Education and the Justice Department announce plans to overturn the school guidance on protecting transgender students. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) AP

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of transgender students by rejecting a challenge to the Boyertown, Pennsylvania Area School District’s restroom and locker-room access policies. The court unanimously decided to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of the district.

A group of anonymous parents banded together with the far-right Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to try to overturn the inclusive policies. The lawyers ridiculously claimed the policies “constitutes sexual harassment and a violation of personal privacy.”

“The court saw that treating transgender students equally does not harm any other students in the school,” said Ria Tabacco Mar, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. “All students should have the opportunity to fully participate in school. Boyertown’s practice makes that possible.”

Aidan DeStefano, a transgender man who graduated from Boyertown Area High School in 2017, said, “Transgender students just want what everyone else wants, to be accepted for who we are. Reversing the practices that have allowed me and other trans kids to thrive at school would have been devastating. I’m glad other transgender students will know the experience of being treated like any other student.”

“As the Trump-Pence Administration and anti-equality activists continue to attack our school children, federal courts nationwide are reaffirming the legal rights and dignity of transgender people,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

School should be a safe space for all youth, and we commend the Boyertown Area School District for not only implementing an LGBTQ-inclusive policy, but for fighting to protect their most vulnerable and marginalized students.”

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