Palatine High School transgender student appeals locker room ruling

Palatine High School transgender student Nova Maday is appealing a Cook County judge's ruling that denies her full access to a girls locker room at school.

Judge Thomas Allen's decision Jan. 25 upheld a Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 policy that allows Maday in the locker room but requires her to use a private changing stall.

Maday and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois sued in November, seeking an injunction to overturn the district's policy.

The next hearing date on the lawsuit is set for Feb. 22.

John Knight, the ACLU's lead counsel in the case, addressed the notice of appeal that was filed with the court in a written statement.

"The court's ruling allows District 211 officials to treat Nova and other students who are transgender differently from their fellow students, simply because they are transgender," Knight wrote. "Moreover, the court's ruling hurts many other students who, under the current ruling, could face discrimination in their schools across the state because of who they are - because of their religion, race, sex, or because they have a disability."

District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates considered Allen's decision an acknowledgment of district efforts to be supportive of all its students while balancing their rights to privacy.

The religious freedom organization Thomas More Society, which intervened in the case on the side of the school district, also applauded the ruling. Its representatives argue that giving Maday unrestricted access to the locker room would represent an unjustified invasion of privacy to others in the locker room.

The Thomas More Society is representing the local residents group D211 Students and Parents for Privacy, which previously sued the district over the same policy. In early January, a federal judge denied their request for an injunction that would have barred transgender students from access to the bathrooms and locker rooms of the genders with which they identify.

Though identified as male at birth, Maday has identified as female during most of her high school years. She currently is in her final semester at Palatine High.

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