In a major victory for Maine’s transgender youth, the state’s highest court has ruled that denying a transgender girl the use of a girls’ restroom at her school violated her rights under the state’s Human Rights Act. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) won the case on behalf of Nicole Maines, who was barred from the restroom during the fifth grade at Orono Elementary School. A lower court had ruled against her.
From GLAD’s press release:
This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people,” said Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project, who argued the case before the Maine Law Court on June 12. “Schools have a responsibility to create a learning environment that meets and balances the needs of all kids and allows every student to succeed. For transgender students this includes access to all school facilities, programs, and extracurricular activities in a way that is consistent with their gender identity.”
“A transgender girl is a girl and must be treated as such in all respects, including using the girls’ restroom. This ruling is consistent with what educators and human rights commissions – including the Maine Human Rights Commission — around the country have concluded,” said GLAD Senior Attorney Bennett Klein, who was co-counsel with Levi in the case.
Coincidentally, I just posted some comments this morning about legal advances for transgender youth at various levels of government and in different parts of the country. (To read those comments, check out the fifth question in this post: California’s New Transgender Equality Law & the Effort to Repeal It: Frequently Asked Questions.) As soon as I fully digest the Maine decision, I will update those comments (again!).
Congratulations and thank you to GLAD and to the brave young plaintiff.