The Supreme Court declined Monday to take up an appeal from Oregon parents who want transgender students in their school district to use locker rooms and bathrooms based on their sex assigned at birth.
The decision lets stand a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the district’s policy of permitting trans students to use facilities that align with their gender identity.
“A policy that allows transgender students to use school bathroom and locker facilities that match their self-identified gender in the same manner that cisgender students utilize those facilities does not infringe Fourteenth Amendment privacy or parental rights or First Amendment free exercise rights, nor does it create actionable sex harassment under Title IX,” Judge A. Wallace Tashima of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the February decision for Parents for Privacy v. William P. Barr et al.
The case originated in Dallas, Oregon, an agricultural town 15 miles west of Salem, the state’s capital. In 2017, parents of high schoolers sued over the Dallas School District’s policy of allowing a transgender male student use the boy’s locker room and bathroom. At the time, a lawyer for the parents indicated that cisgender boys would be embarrassed and ashamed to change in the same room as someone who was assigned female at birth.
In 2018, a lower court refused to block the district’s policy, and the 9th Circuit affirmed that ruling earlier this year.
LGBTQ advocates on Monday praised the Supreme Court’s decision to reject the appeal.
“Today’s decision is excellent news for transgender students,” Mara Keisling, executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “Trans students deserve an educational environment that is safe, supportive and free from discrimination. The school district’s actions to create that environment have been vindicated.”
Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT & HIV Project, said with its decision Monday, the high court has “once again said that transgender youth are not a threat to other students.”
“The decision not to take this case is an important and powerful message to trans and non-binary youth that they deserve to share space with and enjoy the benefits of school alongside their non-transgender peers,” Strangio said in a statement. “We will continue to fight in courts, in legislatures, and in our families and communities to ensure that all trans people feel safe and belong.”
Similar lawsuits to the one brought forth in Oregon by Parents for Privacy have been dismissed by courts in other parts of the country.