City joins lawsuit for transgender student rights

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes announced the City of Seattle is joining dozens of cities in an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a transgender student. The student is challenging a high school restroom access policy that forces transgender students to use a separate single-stall restroom instead of accessing a restroom consistent with a student’s gender identity.

“President Trump’s recent attack on transgender people’s equality is part of an ongoing and dangerous assault on civil rights across the country,” said Mayor Murray. “Forcing transgender students to use separate restrooms or locker rooms is discriminatory and creates a ‘separate but equal’ status for students who simply want to be treated like any other student. Trans people are unfortunately more likely to be victims of violence for who they are — forcing a student to use separate facilities puts them in danger by outing them to other students and by teaching their peers transgender people are not equal. I am proud the City of Seattle is a leader in creating protections and safer accommodations for transgender people, and we are ready to join the case at the Supreme Court to fight for policies that protect people, not outdated fears.”

The brief, filed in the case of Gloucester County Bd v. G.G., argues that Title IX — a federal law forbidding discrimination in schools on the basis of sex — protects transgender students from discrimination. The brief also notes that for decades more than 200 jurisdictions, including Seattle, have adopted and enforced local laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender people. The brief also counters the argument that allowing transgender students to access facilities consistent with their gender identity would compromise the privacy interests of other students or threaten public safety.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on March 28.

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