TIME Courts

Court Rules for Transgender Student in Maine Bathroom Dispute

The school wrongfully denied Nicole Maines her right to use the girl's student restroom, according to Maine's highest court.

Maine’s high court has ruled that school administrators violated anti-discrimination law when they wouldn’t allow a transgender fifth-grader to use the girls’ restroom.

School officials had said in 2009 that Nicole Maines could only use a staff restroom after a classmate’s grandfather complained. That prompted a lawsuit by Nicole’s family, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that officials violated state law, the Associated Press reports. Nicole was identified as male at birth but began identifying as female when she was 2.

“It sends a message to my kids that you can believe in the system and that it can work,” said Wayne Maines, Nicole’s father. “I’m just going to hug my kids and enjoy the moment, and do some healing.”

The court concluded that the Orono school district violated Maine’s anti-discrimination law ensuring ensures equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation and gender identification, overturning a lower court’s ruling.

“This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people,” said, Jennifer Levi, director of Boston’s Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ Transgender Rights Project.


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