A 17-year-old biological female who is a senior at Tremper High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin is now cleared to use the boys’ bathroom for the remainder of her final year of high school, “without fear of discipline or invasive surveillance by school officials.”
Ash Whitaker decided in her junior year of high school to “openly identify as a boy.” She started wearing masculine clothing, began going by the name “Ashton,” started using male pronouns, and using the boys’ bathroom… until a teacher caught her doing so in February 2016 and alerted school officials.
A therapist diagnosed her as having “gender dysphoria,” and Ash started receiving hormone replacement therapy from a Milwaukee children’s hospital.
The school’s objection to Ash using the boys’ bathroom reportedly caused her a multitude of issues, including both “educational and emotional harm,” the Daily Caller reported.
Ash didn’t want to use the “gender-neutral” bathroom, because she now identifies as a boy, so she limited her fluid intake in an effort to avoid using the bathroom altogether at school, but dehydration made her prone to fainting spells and seizures.
The now transgender student had to endure other inconveniences as well, as people kept referring to her with female pronouns. In addition, the school banned her from running for prom king (an issue she fought against and finally won), and forced her to share rooms with other female students on school trips.
In a lawsuit filed against the school, it states that Ash was “assumed to be a girl when he was born, and was designated ‘female’ on his birth certificate, but has a male gender identity.”
Tuesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a unanimous ruling, upholding a preliminary injunction passed in September 2016, that the school must allow Ash to use the boy’s bathroom and other boys’ facilities for the duration of the school year.
While acknowledging the “harm” Whitaker has suffered by the schools’ “narrow view” of who should use which bathrooms, the court also acknowledged other parents’ complaints of having a biological female in the bathroom with the boys, but said the school has “failed to provide any evidence” of how the other students are being harmed, and that “any harm to the male students who must share bathrooms and other facilities with Whitaker is speculative and based upon conjecture.”
The ruling in the Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District case was reportedly issued by Judge Ann Clair Williams, who was appointed by former president Bill Clinton.
Whitaker issued the following statement in response to the Court’s decision:
“I am thrilled that the Seventh Circuit recognized my right to be treated as the boy that I am at school. After facing daily humiliation at school last year from being threatened with discipline and being constantly monitored by school staff just to use the bathroom, the district court’s injunction in September allowed me to be a typical senior in high school and to focus on my classes, after-school activities, applying to college, and building lasting friendships.
“As I look forward to college next year, I hope my case will help other transgender students in Kenosha and elsewhere to just be treated the same as everyone else without facing discrimination and harassment from school administrators.”
— TransgenderLawCenter (@TransLawCenter) May 30, 2017
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