Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Title IX Victory for Transgender Rights

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Special to the Vanguard

Washington, DC – The United States Supreme Court has declined to review a federal court ruling in favor of a transgender student and his family challenging a discriminatory restroom policy at an Indiana public school district.

Represented by the ACLU of Indiana, an adolescent transgender boy and his parents filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville in December 2021 for failing to provide him with access to bathrooms consistent with his gender in violation of his rights under Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In an August 2023 opinion, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the school district policy did likely violate the student’s rights under Title IX and equal protection.

“We’re thankful the Court allowed this momentous victory for the transgender youth of Indiana to stand,” said Kenneth Falk, Legal Director of the ACLU of Indiana. “This case is about the fundamental right of every student to a safe and inclusive learning environment, and the policy at its core is an affront to the freedom of transgender youth to be themselves. We look forward to continuing to advocate for transgender Hoosiers and their families wherever their equality before the law is challenged.”

In November 2023, a separate petition was filed to the Supreme Court on behalf of families and medical providers challenging Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender people under 18. That brief was filed by the ACLU, the ACLU of Tennessee, Lambda Legal, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

The LGBT Project of Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm and largest provider of free civil legal assistance to low-income Hoosiers, served as co-counsel on the school restroom case. The Project’s focus is to provide legal advocacy and representation to the LGBTQ+ community of Indiana.

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