Transgender Student Sues School Claiming Bathroom Rule Advanced Kidney Disease

Students placed a sticker on the door of a new gender-neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle on Tuesday.
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

A transgender North Carolina high school student filed a lawsuit alleging that the kidney disease she has suffered since birth had gotten worse since she decided to become a boy but was not allowed to use the boys’ bathroom.

The lawsuit against the Cleveland Board of Education, Superintendent Stephen Fisher, and Kings Mountain High School Principal Julie Rikard was filed late last month and picked up by the national media this week. It was first reported by the local newspaper the Shelby Star.

The newspaper said the biologically female student, who is now a senior, is referred to in the lawsuit as John Doe:

In the suit the student, who was a female at birth but began gender transition before his freshman year, says the district discriminated against him by refusing to allow him to use bathrooms that match his gender identity.

According to court documents, the student and his mother informed KMHS before his freshman year that he identified as male and asked that he be allowed to use the boys’ bathrooms at the school. Rikard, the suit alleges, denied the request, saying he could use the girls’ restroom only.

“Because I am a boy I could not use the girls’ restroom comfortably and ended up avoiding the restroom for the entirety of the year,” the teen said in a sworn statement.

In the few instances he had an emergency, Doe said girls at the school would laugh at him “because they knew I was trans and made fun of me for having to use the girls’ restroom.”

The teen started taking testosterone during her sophomore year and was told she could use a separate teachers’ bathroom but claimed she would get “looks” from teachers.

So “John Doe” “said he would simply avoid going altogether when he could – a decision that his doctors say may have worsened his kidney disease, which he has been battling since birth.”

“In addition to the escalation in his anxiety and distress that has resulted from Kings Mountain High School’s refusal to let John access the restroom on equal terms as other boys, John’s kidney function has also been compromised as a result of his lack of access to appropriate restroom facilities,” said Dr. Deanna Adkins, a pediatric endocrinologist whose bio at Duke University said she treats “adolescent gender care,” who has been the teen’s doctor since 2017, the Star reports.

“Adkins and one other doctor also sent letters to KMHS recommending the school allow the student to use the boys’ bathrooms nearest to his classroom, both for his physical and mental health,” the Shelby Star reported.

“We made an accommodation for the student that we felt was in the best interest of the student at the time,” School Board Chairwoman Shearra Miller said in the article.

A judge issued a temporary restraining order to allow Doe to use the boys’ restrooms ahead of a hearing expected this week.

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