It looks like Peter Thiel’s casual “Who cares?” at the RNC might have been a bit early, but anyone paying attention knew that already. A transgender Wisconsin high schooler is suing his school district after allegedly being forced to wear a bracelet so that the school could monitor which bathroom he used.
Sixteen-year-old transgender teen Ash Whitaker says he and “any other transgender students at the school” were made to wear “bright green wristbands” to allow Nelson Tremper High School to “easily monitor and enforce restroom usage.” He’s filed a Title IX suit against the Kenosha United School District and the complaint alleges that the school “refused to recognize or respect [Ash’s] gender identity and have taken a series of discriminatory and highly stigmatizing actions against him based on his sex, gender identity, and transgender status.”
The suit goes on to allege that administrators and security in the school refused to call Ash by his preferred pronouns and were instructed to monitor Ash’s bathroom usage and report him if he used the boy’s room. They allegedly asked Ash to use a girl’s restroom or a single-user restroom in the school’s front office. According to the lawsuit, Ash stopped eating and drinking so that he wouldn’t be forced into an awkward situation. This led to “dehydration, dizziness, fainting, and migraines.” (For perspective, a recent study found that one third of transgender respondents had limited their food and/or drink intake within the past year to avoid bathrooms, with eight percent suffering at least one UTI or kidney-related disease as a result.)
The problems reportedly continued when Ash went on a trip to Europe with the school’s orchestra in his sophomore year. Ash wasn’t allowed to bunk with the boys and ended up in a room with a girl in the orchestra. When he returned to school the following year, it was a full seven months “without any incident” before the school reportedly cracked down on him again.
Going into his senior year, Ash worries that the monitoring will continue. In a statement released by the Transgender Law Center, Ash revealed his anxiety.
“I worry about how I’m going to navigate the demands of senior year if I can’t even go to the bathroom without worrying that I’m being watched,” he said.
The Kenosha school district has yet to respond. However, if the allegations are true, a recent Virginia ruling shows the way this one might shake out.
(Via The Daily Beast)