A lawsuit filed in Wright County accuses Buffalo Community Middle School of “gender bias” and “unfair treatment” after it prevented a transgender student from using the boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms.
According to the lawsuit, Matt Woods transitioned from female to male in September 2015 at the age of 11. Woods began using male pronouns and asked to start using the boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms.
Woods, however, was told to use a single-occupancy bathroom in the nurse’s office and was prevented from using the boys’ or girls’ locker rooms for gym class, instead of being told to use an individual bathroom space that needed to be unlocked before every class. The school eventually removed Woods from gym class altogether.
“I prefer to use boy facilities because I’m a boy,” Woods told The Star Tribune. “I don’t want to be treated different than other students.”
Woods has since moved to a new school, but was hospitalized for mental health treatment on two different occasions while a student at Buffalo Community Middle School. The lawsuit blames the mental health issues on the embarrassment and stigma Woods felt as a result of being denied the use of boys’ facilities.
“I’m amazed that I have to go to court just to let my child use the bathroom,” said Woods’ mother, Helene, who filed the lawsuit Thursday against Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools.
“We need to understand that transgender kids are just kids. Denying them access to the facilities that meet their gender identity especially in the elementary and middle school age is causing serious harm to these kids,” she added.
In a statement provided to The Star Tribune, the school district denied the lawsuit’s allegations of discrimination, saying it “respects the rights of all students and plans to vigorously defend against the lawsuit.”
James Shupe, America’s first legally non-binary person who transitioned back to his birth sex and renounced transgender ideology, responded to the lawsuit on Twitter.
“Lady, the ideological quackery you and your child adopted caused all this,” he said. “I’ve learned to immediately be able to tell whether a media outlet is left-leaning or conservative by the slant of their journalism about transgenderism. The Star Tribune is clearly pro-gender ideology.”
I've learned to immediately be able to tell whether a media outlet is left-leaning or conservative by the slant of their journalism about transgenderism. The Star Tribune is clearly pro-gender ideology.
— James Shupe (Formerly Jamie Shupe) (@NotableDesister) November 22, 2019
A similar lawsuit was filed against Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 in February because it allegedly prevented a transgender student from using the boys’ locker room. The American Civil Liberties Union and Gender Justice are representing the student, and a motion to dismiss the lawsuit was rejected in August by Anoka County Judge Jenny Walker Jasper, as The Minnesota Sun reported.
“Anyone who has read the newspaper; watched the news or used social media within the last five years cannot dispute the fact that the use of bathrooms and changing facilities by transgender individuals has been hotly debated and is an important policy decision for businesses and government,” Jasper said in her decision. “Additionally, a decision on the issues presented in this case will affect all students within the State of Minnesota and, more importantly, give guidance to all school districts.”
Jasper also granted a request from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to intervene on behalf of the transgender student on the grounds that it is of “general public importance.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Buffalo Community Middle School” by Buffalo Community Middle School.