On Monday, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that transgender students’ right to use the restroom and locker rooms in alignment with their gender identity is protected by federal law.
In M.A.B. v. Board of Education of Talbot County, Max Brennan (M.A.B.), a boy who’s transgender, was forced by Talbot County to use separate restrooms and locker rooms because he is transgender.
“I am extremely happy with the court’s decision and [I] think it is a great step in the right direction,” said Brennan. “I am hopeful that this case will not only help change policy for the better, but help the students who are bound to come after me.”
This ruling is the first decision of its kind in the state of Maryland, but it joins a long list of decisions confirming that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational settings and prohibits public schools from excluding students, who are transgender, from using the same facilities as their non-transgender peers. This is also the first case that shows that transgender people are protected under the Maryland state constitution.
In this decision, U.S. District Court Judge George L. Russell III explained, “M.A.B.’s claims come down to a boy asking his school to treat him just like any other boy. This Court finds that Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause provide M.A.B. grounds to do so.”
The lawsuit was originally filed by FreeState Justice and the ACLU, but ACLU of Maryland subsequently joined as a co-council.
“We hope this decision is a wakeup call for the Talbot County School Board,” said Jennifer Kent, managing attorney with FreeState Justice. “School systems in Maryland should know the law and should be protecting students who are transgender from discrimination, not singling them out for separate and unequal treatment.”