Forward motion

With the US House acting like the Texas Senate and the Texas Senate moving like they can't punish transgender people fast enough for daring to exist, I just had to go looking for something a bit more positive.

In western Pennsylvania, three transgender students in the Pine-Richland School District won the right to us the bathroom consistent with their gender identity after the school board voted 6-2 to rescind the former policy. Juliet Evancho, Elissa Ridenour and a trans boy identified only as A.S. sued the district last October, alleging the district was violating federal law and causing harm to students.

The vote Monday night was brought on by a settlement with Lambda Legal, which was representing the plaintiffs.

Essentially, we got what we wanted. It's a big step, and it definitely makes me feel a lot happier for the people who are coming after me.

--Evancho, who recently graduated

We're happy that we reached this agreement with the school district that protects trans-students and we look forward to finalizing it over the next couple of days.

--Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Lambda Legal

In February, U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak issued a 48-page ruling saying he agreed with the plaintiffs' claims that Pine-Richland's restroom rules could be causing harm to the affected students. He required the district to allow Pine-Richland's students to use the bathroom in line with their chosen identity — not their “assigned” or anatomical sex — while court proceedings continued to play out.

Hornak cited equal protection rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and noted that some transgender students had used bathrooms of their choosing for several years before the school board enacted the policy.

it is not a long leap, nor really a leap at all, to give credence to the plaintiffs' assertions that they subjectively feel marginalized, and objectively are being marginalized, which is causing them genuine distress, anxiety, discomfort and humiliation.

--Judge Hornak

The new Pine-Richland policy reads:

A transgender or gender expansive student may request to use a separate non-sex-specific restroom; however, no student shall be required to use an alternative restroom because he or she is transgender. Under no circumstance should any student be required to use sex-specific restrooms that are inconsistent with his or her gender identity.

The amended policy does not seem to mention locker room use.

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