Judge: Citizens group can intervene in District 211 transgender suit

 
 
Updated 1/18/2018 1:13 PM
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  • Palatine High School senior Nova Maday, who is transgender, is suing Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 for restricting her access to the girls locker room. An Illinois judge has allowed the citizens group Students and Parents for Privacy and the Thomas More Society to intervene in the case on the side of the school district.

      Palatine High School senior Nova Maday, who is transgender, is suing Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 for restricting her access to the girls locker room. An Illinois judge has allowed the citizens group Students and Parents for Privacy and the Thomas More Society to intervene in the case on the side of the school district. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2017

The citizens group District 211 Students and Parents for Privacy, as well as the religious freedom organization Thomas More Society, can intervene in a transgender student's lawsuit against Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211's restrictions on her access to a girl's locker room, a judge has ruled.

Both groups are expected to be at the Daley Center in Chicago Friday for arguments over Palatine High School student Nova Maday's request for an injunction lifting the requirement she use a private changing stall in the locker room. They will join District 211 in opposing the request.

District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates issued a written response Thursday.

"We are aware that Students and Parents for Privacy filed to intervene in a state lawsuit filed by a transgender student in our district seeking unrestricted access to the locker room of their gender identity," Cates said. "Issues surrounding the need to balance access for transgender students with the privacy needs of all students is something that is being discussed and debated in schools and communities around the country, with a number of special interest groups seeking to influence the outcome."

Representing Maday is the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which similarly intervened in a federal lawsuit filed by Students and Parents for Privacy that opposed locker room access for a transgender student at Fremd High School in Palatine.

An injunction in that federal case was denied in December.

Thomas Olp, senior counsel for the Thomas More Society, issued a written statement Thursday explaining the intervention in the Maday case.

"The ACLU takes the position that restricting locker room access to either all girls or all boys unlawfully discriminates against a student whose 'gender identity' (female) is different than her sex (male)," Olp wrote. "But the (Illinois Human Rights) Act specifically says that when it comes to privacy facilities like restrooms and locker rooms, it is perfectly lawful for a secondary school to engage in sex discrimination in requiring the two sexes ... to use separate restrooms and locker rooms. In fact, we believe this discrimination is required, given that many other laws require separate bathroom facilities."

ACLU of Illinois spokesman Ed Yohnka said the agency expected the intervention since Maday's lawsuit was filed in November, but opposes it.

"They're arguing over restroom use and any locker room use, which isn't what this case is about," Yohnka said.

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