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The Alliance Defending Freedom is suing Virginia Minnesota Public Schools (Independent School District Number 706) in federal court alleging a privacy violation after the school allowed a transgender young woman to use bathrooms and changing facilities. The conservative Christian legal organization is representing 10 families in the suit, filed on Wednesday, who call themselves “Privacy Matters.”

The transgender girl, identified as “Student X” in court documents, requested the use of facilities after transitioning in 2014. The district began allowing Student X to use the facilities reflecting her gender starting in early 2016 after reviewing the guidance put forth by the Department of Education regarding Title IX’s coverage of gender identity.

According to the suit, this caused “distress” for the students:

Plaintiff A and F will not return to [Virginia High School] in fall 2016 rather than continue using private facilities with a male student. Girl Plaintiffs A, B, and E, missed instructional class time or athletic practice time while trying to find a locker room or restroom where only girls’ were likely to be present.
Girl Plaintiffs A and E stopped using school restrooms for periods of time, holding their urine all day rather than use a restroom that is accessible to a male.
Parent Plaintiffs A, B, D, E, F, and others observed their daughters’ visible distress, including tearfulness, isolating behavior, and anger, over the Policy that forces them to use locker rooms and restrooms accessible to a male and used by him.

The suit alleges a Christian version of sex and gender that is seemingly contrary to both scientific consensus on the issue and the observable variation in sex and gender present in people and cultures around the world:

Defendants have unilaterally rejected the Title IX meaning of sex, which for 40 years has meant male and female: two objective, fixed, binary classes which are rooted in our human reproductive nature. In lieu of this unambiguous meaning of sex, Defendants inject a distinct and altogether different concept of gender identity which is subjectively discerned, fluid, and nonbinary.

The suit is alleging privacy violations and in addition to the school district, is suing the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education:

No student should be forced to use private facilities at school, like locker rooms and restrooms, with students of the opposite sex. No government agency should hold hostage important education funding to advance an unlawful agenda. And no school district should trade its students’ constitutional and statutory rights for dollars and cents, especially when it means abandoning a common sense practice that long protected every student’s privacy and access to education. Yet the Defendants have taken precisely these actions in this case.

The parents claim that allowing a transgender student to use the facilities that match their gender is a violation of their religious beliefs, and suit is asking the court to find transgender-inclusive schools unconstitutional.

The school district tried to work with the conservative Christian families while maintaining rights for the district’s transgender students, particularly after the Alliance Defending Freedom threatened to sue the district.

In March, the district responded the ADF’s threats with a letter from the district’s attorneys:

The District’s approach to restroom and locker room use is constitutional and purposefully adheres to the interpretation of sex discrimination law under Title IX adopted by the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”). The District has no intention of violating the rights of transgender students by adopting the policy you
suggest…

The District does not intend to institute a policy requiring students to use facilities according to their biological gender, as you demand. However, the District does not wish to see any of its students upset or afraid to use the restroom and locker room facilities. Therefore, the District is willing to discuss possible accommodations for those students who are uncomfortable using communal bathroom and locker room facilities. Please contact us if that is of interest to clients.

Representing the families is Renee Carlson, who spoke out against marriage equality and was part of Lawyers for Marriage, a project of Minnesota for Marriage. She also testified against the Minnesota State High School League’s transgender-inclusive guidance in late 2014.

Among the other attorneys representing the plaintiffs is former Republican lawmaker Doug Wardlow, and former attorney for the Minnesota Family Council, Jordan Lorence.

Here’s the full complaint:

Download (PDF, 924KB)

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I too have a problem with a Transgender looking at the girls and asking their bra aize, twerking, and dancing like a stripper in the locker room with girls. It’s wrong. It’s common sense that this is wrong.

  2. You idiot anti-Christians failed to mention this guy in the dress was making lewd comments to the real girls , lifting his skirt and shaking his ass at them and other guy stuff. If this little fruitcup wants to be special let him change in the mop closet. He doesn’t deserve anything for being queer other than a kick in the ass.

  3. Odd isn’t it that none of the other girls have objected, aoart from these ultra fundamentalist families The main complaint appears to be that she danced in the locker room to “loud music” . Naturally no other girls ever do that, nor get makeup tips from one another, nor compare bra sizes. Did you see where one of the complainants was caught in the boys locker room? Apparently because she was trying to protect her privacy. And if you believe that, you might just be a Trump supporter.

  4. @Zoebrain – oyu cannot say for certain that “none of the other girls have objected” because the information on this story is lacking details in that regard. This article concerns the parents who had enough and stepped forward to file this lawsuit.

  5. Not your typical Transgender actions, as WE are as modest, and maybe more so, as most women in those circumstances. I agree with Zoebrain, that this is driven by their religion and parents, plus a lot of over exaggeration in describing what took place. Minnesota is not left out when it comes to Transgender exaggerations.

  6. Consider that, The Alliance Defending Freedom, is an anti Transgender, and religious right group, that has a very heavy
    ” Axe to Grind “. These groups have been known to fabricate things such as this, for their own purposes and benefit..

  7. Lioniz, your disrespectful comments towards Gay people are one thing.

    “If this little fruitcup wants to be special let him change in the mop closet. He doesn’t deserve anything for being queer other than a kick in the ass.”

    Referring to a transgender woman/girl as a man is another. It’s an act of violence, just like your other hollow threats.

    Are you 100% certain you’re not a closeted Gay man? Your comments sure make it sound like you are.

    Methinks the bigot doth complain too much.

  8. Look, what this all comes down to is where do a person’s personal rights END & when they start infringing on another’s rights.

    There are 6 female students in the lawsuit, Plantiffs A-F & these are just the ones whose parents had the wherewithal to organize & get this lawsuit filed, there’s a whole host of reasons why more aren’t listed.

    Here’s a few:

    Resources/organization for a lawsuit of this nature.

    Backlash. If we’re all being honest here, it can be truthfully stated that the LGBT community (& their allies), when they feel slighted, turn into rabid dogs. All efforts are focused on the percieved aggressors, ranging from simple verbal harassment, attempts to have the percieved aggressors fired from their jobs, ruin their businesses, vandalizing homes & property & in some cases death threats to the main subject, but also extending in some cases to the entire family, even young children.

    Yes. These types of things have happened to those who rejected the status quo & logic of the LGBT community, especially concerning transgenders. But not a single LGBT advocate ever speaks out against this type of behavior towards their opponents, to them, it okay, it acceptable. But if a straight or cis community attacked a transgender as one, like they do, they’d be screaming we were committing hate crimes. But them doing this is okay.

    Doesn’t sound like a very tolerant or modest group, does it?

    There are cruel people of all walks of life, yes, including transgender girls. I know it’ll be said that Student X was having a hard time & her/his outbursts were fueled by past treatment from others & so Student Xs actions are considered acceptable, expected & excusable.

    Nope. Not even a little. Student X is not special or entitled to better treatment while at school. He isn’t entitled to upset other students. Student X is an aggressive student, bombastic, over the top & if it were all girls in the room, most would shrug it off, but they aren’t all girls, no matter how Student X identifies or how much you all think Student X is a girl.

    Student X is a boy who dresses in girls clothes, he is not transitioning physically beyond clothes & general appearance at this point, so student X is still very much biologically a boy. With a boys increased strength, muscle mass & stamina. So when student X becomes aggressive in the locker room setting, staring at other girls, going so far as to follow the plAintiffs to another locker room to force them to dress out with him, that fucked up. These girls are afraid because unlike a lot of you, they see a boy in a dress. A boy who intends to force them to change in front of him & will apply pressure to get this result.

    What would the LGBT community reaction be if student X lost it & got into a physical altercation with one of the Plantiffs? Student X is male & stronger, it stands to reason that a male could inflict a lot of harm hitting a female & student X is male. Would you try to excuse that as a normal fight between two girls? Speaking of which, why is a boy competing on a girls sports team? He has an advantage & you all know it, because he’s a boy.

    Before any of you stack me for being a Christian, alt right, religious nut, know this, most people think like I do & it’s not religion that’s doing it. It’s called logic. Science. The medical community.

    You can put a boy in a dress. But it’s still a boy, no matter what he thinks he is. The fact that X is so aggressive makes this more disconcerting. As to all transgenders being modest? Really? What about the depth & breath of transgender performers? They aren’t modest, and neither are all transgenders. So please, spare me that straw man argument.

    Student X is in the wrong here, no matter how you spin it.

  9. I’ll add something else, this “inclusive rule” in schools?

    You guys know it doesn’t extend to people? They can’t make a person like another person. Student X is trying to use this law to force even uncomfortable students into playing along & living with their discomfort, going so far as to follow the students in question to another room they were using to change.

    Sorry student X, not even the government can make other girls okay with how you want to live. What next? Try to force a cis boy to take student X to prom & if they won’t do it they’re bigoted? Right???? Student X, You need to get past this or I see many lawsuits in your future…

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