Government & Politics

Missouri Supreme Court hears Blue Springs transgender student case on bathroom rights

A transgender student sued the Blue Springs school district for not letting him use the boys restroom and locker room at school.
A transgender student sued the Blue Springs school district for not letting him use the boys restroom and locker room at school.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the case of a transgender student who sued the Blue Springs School District for not letting him use the boy's restroom and locker room at school.

The student, identified in court records as R.M.A, had publicly identified as male since the fourth grade. The school district updated the student's school records from a female name to a male name and allowed the student to play sports and take gym class with male students.

The school did not, however, permit the student to use the boy's locker room and rest room, and instead offered the student use of a unisex bathroom.

The student would go on to sue the school district in Oct. 2015, after filing charges of sex discrimination with the Missouri Human Rights Commission.

A circuit court dismissed the student's claims, and he later appealed.

At the heart of the case is whether the student can legitimately argue discrimination on the basis of sex because he was not granted access to the boy's bathroom as a transgender male.

The Missouri Human Rights Act does not protect against gender-identity discrimination.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Missouri and the Transgender Law Center, organizations that have filed briefs in support of the student, have argued that discrimination against transgender people is sex discrimination.

The state has argued that government agencies cannot discriminate based on sex as employers, but not necessarily in other scenarios. Others have argued that gender identity and sex are not comparable when it comes to privacy issues.

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