Judge throws out Pittburgh trans man’s discrimination case

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A trans man sued the University of Pittsburgh for banning him from using the men’s toilets.

Seamus Johnston was banned from using the men’s toilets and changing rooms while a he was a computer science student at The University of Pittsburgh, and when he continued to flout the ban, was arrested by campus police. He was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct and given six months probation.

He also asserts that the university retaliated against him by passing his details to the FBI after a series of bomb threats were made to the school in 2012. Mr Johnson was questioned about the threats but not charged.

On deciding whether banning a trans man from using men’s facilities counted as discrimination, judge Kim Gibson said: “The simple answer is no. [Johnston] alleges that he is ‘medically’ a male, but provides no further averments to support that assertion.

“It is this fact — that plaintiff was born a biological female, as alleged in the complaint — that is fatal to plaintiff’s sex discrimination claim. Regardless of how gender and gender identity are defined, the law recognizes certain distinctions between male and female on the basis of birth sex.”

The judge’s ruling was based on the fact that because Mr Johnston had not provided evidence of surgery, and had not “officially” changed his gender.

The rights of trans students to use the facilities they feel most appropriate is a divisive issue in the US currently.