The Ninth Circuit could soon decide Parents for Privacy v. Dallas School District No. 2, a case concerning an Oregon school district that permits transgender students to access restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed by People For the American Way Foundation and allied organizations, we make clear that this policy is about a core American constitutional principle—preventing discrimination—and that promoting equality and recognition for transgender students benefits all students. Our introduction follows below. Click here to download a PDF copy of the full brief.
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
Dallas School District No. 2 (“Dallas”) implemented a Student Safety Plan permitting a transgender student to access the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with his gender identity (the “Policy”). Dallas’s Policy is similar to policies upheld by courts around the country and reflects Dallas’s compliance with antidiscrimination protections under federal law. In a detailed opinion rejecting Appellants’ challenge to the Policy, the District Court approvingly cited case law from around the country holding that schools have a compelling interest in protecting transgender students from discrimination, and that policies such as Dallas’s are narrowly tailored to serve that interest. The Policy also reflects a core American constitutional principle: the prevention of discrimination, which the Supreme Court has acknowledged is particularly important in a school environment. These grounds alone warrant affirming the District Court.
The District Court’s decision is also consistent with social science and empirical research demonstrating that Dallas’s Policy serves the interests of all students, including those who are transgender. Transgender students face a disproportionate amount of discrimination, bias, and harassment. Policies such as Dallas’s help prevent discrimination and harassment by promoting a safe, inclusive, and tolerant school and learning environment. They also enhance a school’s ability to shield transgender students from bias and harassment and teach a generation of children the importance of inclusivity, tolerance, and respect. For these reasons, and as explained further below, amici curiae respectfully request that this Court affirm the District Court’s decision.