Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction in Transgender Student’s Discrimination Case

By Shane Stahl • August 6, 2018 • 1:15 pm

On Friday, August 3rd, Judge William T. Lawrence of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted a preliminary injunction requested by the plaintiff in the case of J.A.W. v. Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, preventing the district from enforcing a discriminatory restroom policy against the plaintiff while the case is pending trial.

In February of this year, plaintiff J.A.W., a transgender male student represented by the ACLU of Indiana, filed suit in federal District Court w after his school denied him access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to his gender identity. Indiana is covered by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently ruled in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that Title IX’s sex discrimination protections prohibit discrimination based on a student’s gender identity.

The defendants had filed a motion to dismiss on March 20th of this year, which was denied by Judge Lawrence on June 5th. The plaintiff’s request for preliminary injunction was filed in April.

2018 has already seen several major court victories for transgender students across the country. In addition to the Whitaker decision, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Pennsylvania school district’s transgender-inclusive restroom and locker room policy in the case of Doe v. Boyertown. Gavin Grimm, the student at the center of a discrimination case that has gone on for nearly four years, saw a win in June with the Virginia District Court ruling his claim against the Gloucester County School Board can proceed, settling it up for another showdown in the Fourth Circuit. In late July, a Florida judge ruled in favor of Drew Adams, a transgender student in Florida who challenged his school district’s discriminatory restroom policy in Adams v. St John’s County School Board. Two days earlier, a judge in Oregon dismissed a case that sought to undo a Dallas, Oregon school district’s transgender-inclusive restroom policy, writing that Title IX protects transgender students against discrimination.

To read all current litigation concerning discrimination against transgender students, visit our Litigation Tracker here.

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