WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court An Indiana high school on Tuesday declined to weigh in on whether to require a transgender boy to use the restroom that matches his gender identity.
The ruling upholds an appeals court decision in favor of the student, identified in court documents as AC, who graduated from John R. Wooden Middle School in Martinsville, Indiana. AC is now in high school where he can use his preferred bathroom.
The Martinsville Metropolitan School District asked the justices to rule that transgender students are not required to be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.
The issue is whether either the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says the laws apply equally, or Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education, protects transgender students in this context.
The court’s decision not to intervene means that litigation will continue in lower courts across the country, with judges reaching different conclusions.
In 2023, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled against the school district, upholding a federal judge’s ruling that allowed several transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
The court noted that AC, then 13, had identified as a boy since the age of 8 and had for years used a male name, used male pronouns and adopted “typically male hairstyles and clothing”.
The Biden administration issued guidance stating that Title IX protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, meaning that transgender students will be protected.
This approach has been contested in cases arising from both bathroom access and school sports. Last year, the administration proposed a new rule that would allow some restrictions for transgender student athletes in competitive high school and college sports.
In the Supreme Court a A surprise decision in 2020 In a 6-3 vote, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who authored it, said the federal law banning gender discrimination in employment protects LGBTQ people, a decision that angered conservatives. New cases raise the question of whether the same rationale applies to Title IX.
Supreme Court in 2021 refused to address the issue of transgender students being able to use school bathrooms that match their gender identity as legal battles continue across the country. Last year, the court on a related matter allowed a transgender girl To participate in girls sports at West Virginia.