In late May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling that upheld a Pennsylvania school district’s policy that permits transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Court observers had the opportunity to witness a rare spectacle. Rather than take weeks or months to issue an opinion after arguments, the three-judge panel convened for a less than 30 minutes before ruling in favor of Boyertown Area School District’s policy and by extension, the rights of transgender students.
Now, the full opinion in Doe v. Boyertown Area School District has been issued. From the opinion, which you can download or read here:
The plaintiffs—a group of high school students who identify as being the same sex they were determined to have at birth (cisgender) —believe the policy violated their constitutional rights of bodily privacy, as well as Title IX, and Pennsylvania tort law. As we shall explain, we conclude that, under the circumstances here, the presence of transgender students in the locker and restrooms is no more offensive to constitutional or Pennsylvania-law privacy interests than the presence of the other students who are not transgender. Nor does their presence infringe on the plaintiffs’ rights under Title IX.
Attorneys at the Women’s Law Project and co-counsel at Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the Boyertown policy that argues that the presence of transgender students in facilities corresponding to their gender identity does not violate Title IX. Rather, Title IX protects the rights of transgender students to use those facilities.
“The Third Circuit panel’s immediate and unanimous ruling in Doe v. Boyertown sent an important message about the scope of Title IX,” says Amal Bass, Staff Attorney at the Women’s Law Project. “As Title IX advocates, amici are pleased to see the Third Circuit join the growing number of courts that understand that Title IX protects the rights of transgender students.”
The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.
We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.