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Federal appeals court rules for transgender student on school bathroom policy

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] on Tuesday to affirmed [opinion, PDF] an order allowing a transgender male student to use the boy's restroom. The Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin would not allow Ash Whitaker into the male restroom, claiming his presence would violate the privacy of other students. Whitaker brought claims alleging violations of the Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The denial of the school district's motion to dismiss these claims was upheld, as the reviewing court refused to exercise pendent jurisdiction.

LGBTQ rights and "bathroom bills" have become the subject of law and policy debates across the US. Earlier this month the Texas Senate revived [JURIST report] a "bathroom bill" in a 1AM vote, which would require transgender citizens to use public restrooms that correspond to the sex identified on their birth certificates. In April the US Department of Justice dropped [JURIST report] a federal lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over a bill requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom associated with their birth gender. In March the US Supreme Court vacated [JURIST report] a lower court ruling in a case concerning transgender restroom policies following a move by the Trump administration to rescind guidelines that school districts should allow students to use the bathroom of their choice.

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