ACLU insists that transgender man be allowed to use women’s bathroom

Alex Wilson. Photo: WFLA screenshot
View photos
Alex Wilson. Photo: WFLA screenshot
Alex Wilson. Photo: WFLA screenshot
View photos
Alex Wilson. Photo: WFLA screenshot

The American Civil Liberties Union has now filed a complaint on behalf of Alex Wilson, the transgender student in Florida who says he is a discrimination victim because the trade school he attends has prohibited him from using the women’s restroom.

Back in July, administrators at Pinellas Technical Education Center — a public school in Clearwater, Fla. — informed Wilson that he had to stop using the women’s restroom after an unidentified student complained. (RELATED: Florida transgender student barred from using women’s bathroom)

Wilson was born male and is four years into a hormone therapy process designed to transform him into a female. However, he hasn’t undergone gender reassignment surgery. He is taking classes so he can become a licensed practical nurse.

School officials told Wilson he could use a facility in an inconvenient storage area, which he finds humiliating, reported Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA.

More recently, reports The Tampa Tribune, the administration offered Wilson the use a male faculty bathroom, which requires a key. However, Wilson wants no part of it.

“I’m trying to get my rights,” Wilson told the Tribune. “I’m basically being told I can’t use the same restroom as everyone else; no matter how you look at it, it’s discrimination.”

“It doesn’t resolve the humiliation they are placing on her and doesn’t resolve that they are segregating her,” ACLU staff attorney Daniel Tilley told the paper.

The complaint filed on Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil rights claims the school’s decision violates Title IX.

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 forbids sex discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding.

Tilley said the next step in the complaint process will likely be an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. He also noted that Title IX doesn’t cover transgender individuals. Nevertheless, the ACLU’s position is that courts should extend the law to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

A spokeswoman for the career and technical school offered the administration’s take on the kerfuffle back in July.

“In a scenario such as the one you’re describing, a person will be offered access to a private restroom,” Melanie Marquez Parra told WFLA. “And that’s for the individual’s privacy and for the privacy of other students.”

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