A school in the Pennsylvania school district will allow students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. Such is under a settlement announced on Tuesday that ended a federal lawsuit lodged by a group of transgender students.
The lawsuit was filed by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund against Pine-Richland School District in suburban Pittsburgh last year on behalf of three transgender students who claimed that a district policy asking that students use bathrooms matching their biological gender or use unisex restrooms was discriminatory.
There is also a broader national debate over gender identity and bathroom use, following North Carolina’s passage last year of a law requiring people to use public restrooms that corresponded with their gender at birth. It was met with protests and pressures including economic boycotts leading the state to lose millions of dollars. It was partially repealed in March.
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in February against the Pennsylvania district’s policy. Under the said settlement, filed in U.S. district court in Pittsburgh, “any student across the district may access restrooms based upon his or her consistently and uniformly asserted gender identity” or single-use bathrooms.
The settlement also requires the addition of gender identity in the district’s nondiscrimination practices and an undisclosed monetary payment.
Two of the students who sued the school were born biologically male but now identify as anatomically female , while the third was born biologically female and identifies as male. The three have already graduated from Pine-Richland High School.
The lawyer behind the lawsuit, Omar Gonzales-Pagan said in a statement that they consider the decision as a “victory for transgender students everywhere” and that it serves as a “warning” to school districts with alleged ant-transgender bathroom policies.
What is unclear is how the majority of students’ sentiments and feelings on the matter, if they will be comfortable in having transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice.