Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau and Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal have both signed on to separate briefs to the United States Supreme Court in support of a transgender student.
The case was brought by Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, against the Gloucester County School Board after that board created a policy that prevented transgender students from using common school facilities and instead required them to use “alternative private” facilities.
Now the case is set to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Harteau signed on to a brief along with 60 other law enforcement officials. It argues that public safety concerns about allowing transgender students to use the bathroom are unfounded:
In this case, G.G. challenges a school rule prohibiting him from using the restroom that matches his gender identity. Regulations and rules like the one imposed by G.G.’s school seek to prohibit transgender people from using restroom facilities that match their gender identity but do not match the gender they were assigned at birth. These laws are often defended as purportedly necessary to ensure safety in public facilities. But public-safety concerns do not justify these laws, because there is no safety threat created by permitting transgender people to use public facilities that match their gender identity.
To support its assertion, the brief notes the Minneapolis experience:
A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department said that sexual assaults resulting from Minnesota’s nondiscrimination law, which has been in effect since 1993, had been “not even remotely” a problem and an inquiry by the city had found no evidence of cisgender men posing as transgender women to enter women’s restrooms.
City Attorney Segal signed on to a brief along with officials from 30 other cities:
Amici submit this brief to relate their experiences implementing laws that prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals, including, in some instances, measures that expressly recognize the right of all community members to use restrooms and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. Amici’s decades of experience in implementing such policies confirm that they serve only to make our communities safer and more inclusive, and are an important bulwark in preventing discrimination against transgender people.
That brief notes Minneapolis’ history of prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity which spans four decades — longer than any other city in the United States:
Over forty years ago, Minneapolis,Minnesota became the first jurisdiction to provide transgender people with legal protections from discrimination, including in public accommodations, employment, and housing. See Minneapolis, Minn., Ordinance of 12-30-75 (current version at Minneapolis, Minn., Code of Ordinances, tit. 7, chs. 139 & 141 (2006)). In the years that followed, dozens of cities followed suit.
Both briefs were submitted on Thursday. The full version are below: