On July 19, 2016, the Transgender Law Center filed a complaint against the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin on behalf of Ash Whitaker, a 16-year-old female student who identifies as a transgender boy. The suit alleges the Defendants “and their agents, employees, and representatives” have discriminated against Whitaker on the basis of “his sex, gender identity, and transgender status” in violation of Title IX of the US Education Amendments of 1972. Less than a month later, Whitaker’s attorneys filed a motion for preliminary injunction, claiming Whitaker “continues to suffer irreparable harm based on the Defendants’ discriminatory refusal to permit him to use the boys’ restrooms at school … as well as the repeated use by District administrators and staff of Plaintiff’s female birth name and female pronouns (i.e., she, her) when addressing or referring to the Plaintiff.” On September 20 the court granted partial injunctive relief, instructing the Defendants not to prohibit Whitaker from using the boys’ restrooms at school and barring them from “taking punitive action against the Plaintiff for using the boys’ restrooms; and from taking any action to monitor his restroom usage.” As U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Pepper writes, “the court weighed the balance of harms, and concluded that the harms suffered by the Plaintiff if the court did not grant the injunctive relief outweighed any potential harms suffered by the Defendant if the court were to impose the injunction. The court also found that the issuance of the injunction would not negatively impact the public interest.” Both the Defendants’ motion to dismiss and motion to stay preliminary injunction were denied, and on November 14 the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Defendants’ petition to appeal, citing a lack of appellate jurisdiction.
Whitaker vs. Kenosha Unified School District No. 1
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision