Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to uphold a lower court decision that found a school policy banning transgender student Drew Adams from using the boy’s restroom both discriminatory and unconstitutional.
LDF’s brief demonstrates how the bathroom policy adopted by the School Board of St. Johns County, Florida is based on unjustified fear, prejudice, and false stereotypes about transgender students. In the brief, LDF explains how the School Board’s bathroom policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and how the school board’s justifications for the unlawful policy resemble discriminatory rationales used decades ago to discriminate against Black individuals, interracial couples, and members of the LGBTQ community.
As LDF notes, the Supreme Court has made clear that “dislike” or “discomfort” with a group “is not a legitimate justification for discrimination,” and the Equal Protection Clause prohibits discrimination against one group in order to accommodate the prejudices and discomfort of another.
Kerrel Murray, LDF Appellate Litigation and Policy Fellow issued the following statement:
“The School Board of St. Johns County’s actions do not further the safety and privacy of its students, but instead demonstrate discomfort, fear, and hostility towards Drew Adams and all transgender students.
“This policy harkens back to discriminatory policies half a century ago that banned interracial marriage and prohibited Black people from being in the same public spaces as white people, as well as recent policies that criminalized LGBTQ individuals and excluded them from military and civil service.
“Transgender children cannot change who they are, nor should they feel ashamed of who they are. Drew Adams wants to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and this court must reaffirm that he can use the bathroom that matches with who he is, like anyone else.”
LDF filed the brief together with Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg of the Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic.
Read the entire brief here.