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Attorney General William Tong

03/01/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG JOINS COALITION OF 21 ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN FILING AMICUS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF TRANSGENDER STUDENTS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY SCHOOL

Attorneys General File Brief In Adams v. St. Johns County School Board, Which Will Be Heard By Eleventh Circuit

(Hartford, CT) -- Connecticut Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of 21 states in filing an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in support of a transgender student named Drew Adams, who is suing the St. Johns County School Board for discrimination. The Court will soon determine whether the School Board’s policy prohibiting transgender boys and girls from using restrooms that other boys and girls use discriminates against transgender students on the basis of sex, in violation of Title IX.

"Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression is illegal in Connecticut and wrong. Those protections should not end at our state border. This case has the potential to set powerful national precedent, and the Office of the Attorney General is ready to aggressively protect the civil rights of transgender people," said Attorney General William Tong.

Drew Adams, an 18-year-old honor student at Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Florida, began using the boys’ restroom after his transition in 2015. After an anonymous complaint was presented against him, the school, citing the district’s policy on transgender students, told Adams he could only use gender-neutral restrooms.

The attorneys general argue in the amicus brief that in ensuring the rights of transgender people – including by allowing them access to the restrooms consistent with their gender identity – everyone benefits, while creating no public safety or personal privacy threat and imposing no meaningful financial burden.

Moreover, the attorneys general argue that the St. Johns County School Board’s policy violates Title IX by denying transgender boys and girls access to the same common restrooms other boys and girls may use – and therefore discriminating on the basis of sex.

The amicus brief, filed last night, was authored by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and signed by a total of 21 Attorneys General: New York, Washington, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Read the brief here.

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