In Florida case, ‘equality’ means special privileges for transgenders

Transgender student Drew Adams, right, and his attorney, Tara Borelli, listen to questions from reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Non-transgender students are not allowed to enter any bathroom they choose. A lawyer in Florida is arguing that a transgender student should be given this freedom, however, because it constitutes “equality.”

That is, exempting a class of people from a rule all others must follow … is “equality.”

The St. John’s County, Fla. school district is appealing a lower court order in favor of a transgender student who wanted to use the boys’ bathroom when she is a biological girl, saying the privacy of other students is paramount, or at least more important than letting someone pretend to be the opposite gender.

The student’s lawyer, however, told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the student has the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to her male gender identity, arguing that the issue is not about the privacy of others, but rather about the right of transgender students to “equal dignity.”

U.S. News reports that Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School outside Jacksonville, decided to be a boy before her freshman year, and used the boys’ room at the Ponte Vedra, Fla., school for a few weeks before several girls complained.

Administrators barred her from using the boys’ restroom and instead steered her to single-person, gender neutral restrooms. A lower court last year overturned that policy after a bench trial, ordering the St. Johns County school district to let Adams use the boys’ restroom despite the fact that she is a biological female.

The 11th Circuit could become the first federal appeals court to make a binding ruling on the issue, which has now arisen in several states. The ruling would cover schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and could carry the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 4th Circuit had ruled in favor of a transgender Virginia student, but the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back down for further consideration after the U.S. Department of Education, under President Donald Trump, withdrew guidance that said federal law called for treating transgender students equally, including allowing them to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.


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