PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A transgender student at a Florida high school can use the men's restroom during his senior year, a federal judge says.
The judge ruled last Thursday that 18-year-old Drew Adams can use the men's restroom at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida when classes resume next month. Citing a district policy, the school had required him to use a gender-neutral bathroom before the ruling.
"This is a clear warning to every school school district in Florida and across neighboring states that if you have a policy that discriminates against transgender students, then you are subject to being sued and are likely to lose," said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, an attorney for Lambda Legal, which represented Adams.
Adams posed no threat to the safety or privacy of other students and the law required him to be treated "like any other boy," U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan said in his ruling.
"Rather, Drew Adams is just like every other student at Nease High School, a teenager coming of age in a complicated, uncertain and changing world," the judge said.
Adams said he can now return to being a normal student.
"Now I can focus on my college applications... without this weight on my shoulders," Adams said.
The Florida Times-Union reports Adams came out as transgender his freshman year of high school, underwent surgery and began hormone treatment.
The school district established some gender-neutral bathrooms for transgender students and others to use. But Adams and his mother filed a lawsuit asking for a court injunction, arguing that it is unfair to treat him differently from other boys just because he was born with female sexual organs.
Adams testified at the three-day trial in December.
"I am a boy and I know that with every fiber of my being," he said.
Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com