Oklahoma sued by 3 trans students over prohibitive new toilet law

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the LGBTQ legal advocacy group, Lambda Legal, on behalf of the three students. They argue that the law, which took effect earlier this year, violates students’ constitutional rights and Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in federally funded schools.
“SB 615 denies plaintiffs and transgender students like them their rights to equal dignity, freedom, and autonomy by labeling them second-class citizens,” the 42-page lawsuit states. “Defendants have therefore denied and continue to deny plaintiffs equal protection of laws in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (of the Constitution).”
The law applies to K-12 students in public and public charter schools in the state. Transgender students who refuse to use the toilets required by the measure should use “a single occupancy toilet or changing room” provided by the school. School districts that don’t comply may have some of their public funding cut and could be sued by the school’s parents.
Tuesday’s lawsuit represents the latest attempt by LGBTQ advocates to use legal action to block a controversial law targeting members of the community, with Tennessee previously sued over a similar toilet law. Advocates have worked for years to fight these toilet laws, calling them unnecessary and harmful.

The lawsuit names the Oklahoma State Department of Education, State Attorney General John O’Connor and four school districts as defendants, among others. The state attorney general’s office declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation, and CNN has reached out to the other defendants in the lawsuit.

When Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt approved SB 615 in May, it became the third anti-trans law signed into law in the state this year. The trio of laws helped make 2022 a record year for anti-LGBTQ bills, with lawmakers across the country having introduced at least 162 through July 1, according to a CNN analysis of data compiled by the ACLU.
In pushing for such bathroom measures, supporters have argued that the safety of cisgender students is threatened when trans students are able to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, which O’Connor repeated after the enactment of SB 615. State prosecutors, law enforcement and human rights commissions have consistently denied that there is a correlation between allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their choice and an increase in assaults, CNN previously reported.
“Nothing can be more reasonable than to insist that a child be allowed to use the bathroom or change clothes without threat of intrusion by someone of the opposite sex,” the attorney general said in a statement earlier. This year.

The lawyers detail in the lawsuit how the toilet law affects both the daily lives of trans students as well as their mental health.

“When excluded from multi-occupancy restrooms, transgender students often avoid using the restroom entirely. This may be because using a single-occupancy restroom would reveal that they are transgender to others, is stigmatizing or impractical to use given how the single occupancy toilet may come from a student’s lessons or for other reasons,” he says.

“Treating transgender boys and girls differently from their peers and excluding them from the same toilets used by same-sex peers also increases their risk of, or makes them worse, for anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and self-harm; lead to suicide; and interferes with the processing of, and may cause or increase the intensity of, their gender dysphoria,” the attorneys wrote.

The political debate over which trans people are allowed to use the restroom exploded in 2016 when North Carolina enacted a law that required people in a government-run facility to use bathrooms and changing rooms that matched the sex listed on their birth certificate, if the rooms in question were multi-occupancy. The measure drew heavy criticism from businesses and advocates, and it was later repealed.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button