Court rules in favor of transgender student’s right to use the girls’ bathroom

BY Cindy Huang  January 31, 2014 at 6:07 PM EDT

Maine’s highest court Thursday that school officials who prevented a transgender student from using the girls’ bathroom violated state anti-discrimination laws.

In the first ruling of its kind, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court concluded that a transgender person should use the bathroom consistent with the gender with which they identified. The decision overturned a lower court’s ruling which found that the school district acted within its discretion.

Fifth-grade student Nicole Maines, her family and the Maine Human Rights Commission filed a lawsuit in 2009 after school officials required Maines to use a staff bathroom.

“This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the Boston-based Transgender Rights Project for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, GLAD, after the court ruling on Thursday.

GLAD said the decision marks the first time that a state high court concluded that transgender people have the right to use the bathroom of their choice.