Federal judge knocks down transphobic lawsuit brought forward by 50 families

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 03: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights with a rally, march through the Loop and a candlelight vigil to remember transgender friends lost to murder and suicide on March 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A federal judge in Illinois has knocked down a lawsuit brought forward by 50 families calling for transphobic policies to be put in place in school districts.

Judge Jorge Alonso refused to impose a temporary injunction against the Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois, after a number of families called for the district to end it’s trans access practice.

In a 15-page ruling, Judge Alonso stressed that transgender students but continue to have access to the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

He explained that the anti-discrimination statues surrounding the case did and should extend to all students, including those with transgender identities.

While the ruling is a success for trans children living in the school district, it is not a final ruling as the attorney for the plaintiffs is looking into an appeal.

Gary McCaleb, the senior attorney on the case, said that the 50 families were “disappointed”.

They argued that allowing trans students to use the appropriate locker room of their choice “violates” the rights of other students’ private and non-discriminatory education.

trans violence

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

They were hoping that the injunction would be awarded and thus force the school district into making trans students use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their sex assigned at birth.

The judge ruled that there was little to no evidence that the plaintiff families had their rights compromised.

Many of the 50 families were part of a group called Students and Parents for Privacy.

On their Facebook page, the group have now asked for extra funds to further fund the case.

They wrote that they would “not rest until the privacy rights, dignity, and well-being of all students are protected equally”.

John Knight, director of LGBT and HIV Project at the ACLU of Illinois, praised the ruling.

Knight said: “Throughout this litigation, one thing remains clear: The groups who filed this case remain unable to demonstrate any harm to their clients resulting from sharing restrooms and locker rooms with students who they perceive as different.

Trans rights protest in Chicago (Getty Images)


The judge “confirmed there is no constitutional right to refuse to share a restroom or locker room with students because they are transgender.”

Superintendent Daniel Cates of District 211 wrote in a letter to parents in early December: “The students and staff members in our schools are not divided on this issue.

“We will vigorously defend and protect compassionate, fair and equitable support for all students, and, at the same time, we continue to defend our supports for transgender students at the federal level.

“This is our commitment now and throughout whatever challenges are put before us, regardless of agenda or cause.”

McCaleb works with Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona firm that worked with the families for free.

The evangelical firm has a history of taking on transphobic and homophobic cases.

(DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Most recently, the US Supreme Court heard a case brought forward by the ADF on behalf of a religious baker who tried to undermine anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

Jack Phillips of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop launched a legal challenge to state anti-discrimination laws after refusing to serve gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig.

The baker refused to make a cake for the couple after he found out they were celebrating their wedding

(Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Phillips claimed that Jesus Christ would discriminate against gay people, and continues to insist his religion requires discrimination against gay people.

LGBT campaigners say that if the court sides with Mr Phillips, the case threatens to blow a hole in decades of civil rights laws and anti-discrimination protections across the US.

Though the ADF is framing the issue around a religious objection to same-sex marriage, other cases show a much wider support for licensing anti-LGBT discrimination.

For instance, they have sued a school district for putting in place a transgender non-discrimination policy, and defended a T-shirt printer who refused an order from a Pride celebration.