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ACLU seeks to intervene in transgender rights lawsuit

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU-MD) [advocacy website] on Friday filed a motion [text, PDF] to intervene in a lawsuit against the Board of Education of Frederick County [official website] over allowing transgender students to use the restroom of their choice.

Anonymous individuals recently filed a lawsuit [Frederick Post report] challenging the school board's new policy, which allows students to use the restroom for the gender with which they identify.

The ACLU-MD joined other advocacy organizations seeking to intervene on behalf of transgender student James van Kuilenburg to defend the policy.

As a transgender student who attends public school in Frederick County, J.V.K. has a legally cognizable interest in this case because the current policies directly protect movants' ability to feel safe and learn at school. The Policies protect transgender students like J.V.K. from bullying and harassment based on his gender identity, allow him to use restrooms consistent with his gender identity, and direct staff to use his correct names and pronouns.
The ACLU-MD believes that if the board is forced to change the policy, students like James will be substantially and immediately harmed and therefore should be able to intervene in the ongoing litigation.
A ruling in Plaintiffs' favor would directly affect J.V.K.in a personal and immediate way: he would be barred from using the boys' restrooms, which for him would be devastating, humiliating, and stigmatizing. And he would return to feeling unsafe at school without having policies in place that he could rely on. Thus, J.V.K. faces real and personal consequences in this case. He will be disadvantaged if Plaintiffs obtain the relief they seek, and that disadvantage is not the same as that faced by the Board of Education.

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