Lambda Legal urges Pennsylvania District Court to suspend Pittsburgh school’s restroom policy
In a fight for three transgender students’ rights to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity, national legal organization Lambda Legal took their battle against Pine-Richland School District to the Pennsylvania District Court Thursday.
In October, Lambda Legal, who works to fight for the rights of LGBTQ individuals and those with HIV, filed a lawsuit against the Pine-Richland School District on behalf of Pine-Richland High School seniors Juliet Evancho, Elissa Ridenour and A.S., (a minor).
The lawsuit argues that the Gibsonia, PA high school’s newly adopted restroom policy and practice sends a purposeful message that transgender students in the school district are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded to other students, according to a release of Lambda Legal.
Lambda filed the lawsuit after the Pine-Richland School Board voted in September to reverse the School District’s longstanding, inclusive restroom practice in response to pressure from anti-LGBT groups and individuals. As it stands now, all students must use restrooms that correspond to their anatomical or biological sex, or unisex restrooms.
Tuesday’s hearing concerned Lambda Legal’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, which seeks to halt enforcement of the discriminatory restroom policy while the lawsuit proceeds and to allow these students to use the restroom of the gender they identity with at school. The district court also heard arguments on the school district’s motion to dismiss the case.
According to the Washington Post, U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak didn’t say when a decision would be made after hearing arguments from both sides.
The legal organization made a video called “Just Another Girl: Trans Students Fight for the Right to Use the Bathroom” featuring two of the transgender students involved in the case.
“Pine Richland High School was such a good, supportive, and kind place to be. We were a safe haven for transgender students,” says 18-year-old Juliet Evancho in the video. “Now with the bathroom policy, its changed everything. The students and teachers don’t want to have to discriminate, it’s the parent’s who are scared of us.”
Read their complaint that was filed in its entirety here.
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