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ACLU defends MN transgender student in lawsuit over locker room use

Parents filed a lawsuit saying a male student who identifies as female acted inappropriately in the girls locker room.

Last month, a group of female students and their parents decided to sue a northern Minnesota school district. The lawsuit is over the Virginia School District's policy that lets transgender students use the restrooms and locker rooms that suit their gender identity.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is requesting to be involved to support transgender students.

According to the original suit, a male student who identifies as female – referred to as Student X for privacy – used the girls locker room and behaved in a way that was distressing to the other girls.

The suit says Student X asked one girl her bra size, twerked, lifted up their own skirt, and changed clothes by girls who were trying to find privacy away from that student.

Although the lawsuit is against the U.S. Department of Education and the Virginia School District, the ACLU's motion to intervene says "the real target" is 15-year-old Student X.

The motion goes on to say that Student X has been living as a female for about two years now and has been participating on girls sports teams.

"The entire team talks, listens to music, and dances in the locker room as part of team camaraderie, and it is unfortunate that Plaintiffs have singled [Student X] out from the rest of her teammates with these sensational allegations just because she is transgender," said Joshua Block – senior staff attorney at the ACLU.

According to the union's motion, the parents who filed the lawsuit are attempting to "take away her right to be an ordinary high school girl, marginalizing and segregating her from her classmates and teammates."

An attorney for the school district previously told GoMN that by allowing transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that suit their gender identity, the district is abiding by the law.

Earlier this year, the White House laid out guidelines saying schools must allow that or risk losing federal funding.

Transgender students in high school

Pew Research published a study from October of 2015 that looked at teenagers’ romantic lives, and part of it included asking the teens about their gender identity.

In the study, 3 percent of teens (age 13-17) identified themselves as transgender, while 2 percent refused to answer the question. The remaining 95 percent identified themselves as not transgender.

StopBullying.gov says students who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual are more likely to be bullied than those who do not. The CDC says those students are at greater risk of “suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide.” One study found LGBTQ students in grades 7-12 were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual peers.

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