Maine: Court rules school was wrong to ban trans girl from using female toilets

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A Maine court has ruled that it is a violation of a trans girl’s human rights for her school to prevent her from using the female bathroom.

The family of Nicole Maines and the Maine Human Rights Commission first sued in 2009 when the Orono school district banned then-11 year old Nicole from using the female toilets, and forced her to instead use the staff toilet.

Last week, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled by 5 votes to 1 that banning Nicole, now 16, from using the female toilets was a violation of her human rights.

Justice Warren Silver wrote in the ruling: “It has been clearly established that a student’s psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity”.

Nicole’s father Wayne Maines told Associated Press: “It sends a message to my kids that you can believe in the system and that it can work. I’m just going to hug my kids and enjoy the moment, and do some healing.”

He also said students at Nicole’s high school stood up and cheered when the ruling was announced.

Melissa Hewey, lawyer for the school district, said the ruling provided “clarity” on the issue.

She said: “The court has now clarified what has been a difficult issue and is a more and more common in schools, and the Orono School Department is going to do what it needs to do to comply with the law.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ Transgender Rights Project said: “This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people.”

In California, a group is currently trying to overturn a ‘bathroom law’ passed last year, which afford trans children equal access to locker rooms and toilets.