Transgender Ohio child may continue to use girl's restroom - appeals court

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Dec 16 (Reuters) - An 11-year-old transgender Ohio child must be allowed to continue to use the girls' restroom while her school district appeals a court ruling in her favor, a U.S. appeals court ruled Thursday.

The child, a biological male who identifies as female, has been using the girl's restroom at a school in the Highland Local School District northwest of Akron since a federal court ruled in late September that district administrators could not prevent her from doing so.

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The case began in June, when the school district sued to stop an order by the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of their choice.

A U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Ohio denied the school district's request to overturn the administration's rule, and issued a temporary restraining order requiring the school district to comply.

The school district appealed and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit refused to grant that appeal.

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ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A display inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina features books by authors who support the repeal of HB2 on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A sign next to the men's bathroom inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina denounces North Carolina's HB2 legislation on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A bulletin board inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina features upcoming author visits and events scheduled for the bookstore on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16 - Protestors gather across the street from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 16, 2016. House Bill 2, also known as the Bathroom Bill, which requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate, has received the attention of national media and the White House. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16 - Protestors gather across the street from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 16, 2016. House Bill 2, also known as the Bathroom Bill, which requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate, has received the attention of national media and the White House. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
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Elaine Martin, right, listens as Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Joaquin Carcano, center, the lead plaintiff in the case, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. Joaquin was born a woman and is now a man. Simone Bell with Lambda Law is at left; Chris Brook with the ACLU is at right. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
TO GO AFP STORY BY BRIGITTE DUSSEAU - Transgender delegates Jamie Shier (L) and Janice Covington pose for photographs at the Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012. The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that US President Barack Obama would move his acceptance speech from the outdoor Bank of America Stadium to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena due to predictions of thunderstorms. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)
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In its ruling on Thursday, the court pointed out that the child had attempted suicide multiple times before being allowed to use the girls' restroom, and that her stress level had diminished since the ruling went into effect.

Making her switch again to the boys' restroom or to return to using the nurses' restroom as she had before, would put the child, who was not named, at risk again, the court said.

The district has argued that it has allowed the child to use private restroom facilities and to otherwise identify as a girl at school.

An attorney for the Alliance for Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that represents the school district in the case, said allowing a male child in the girls' restroom violated the privacy of the other students.

"Allowing boys in girls' restrooms completely disregards the privacy needs and rights of all the girls who are rightfully and understandably concerned," said Doug Wardlow, the organization's legal counsel. "Young boys should not be allowed in girls' locker rooms or restrooms."

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that next year it will consider the question of whether the Obama Administration overreached in requiring public schools to allow transgender children to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. (Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Editing by David Gregorio)


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