Education Law

Transgender restroom case is heard by Maine's high court; student tells of fifth-grade bullying


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A transgender teen talked to reporters on Wednesday after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court considered whether she was entitled to use a girls’ bathroom at school under the state’s human rights law.

Nicole Maines,15, said she was bullied in the fifth grade when the former Orono School District banned her from the girls’ room, the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News report.

“I just want to tell you all how happy I am that the court heard our case today,” Maines said. “I wouldn’t want to wish my experience on any other trans person. I just hope they understand how important it is for students to go to school, get an education, have fun, have friends and not having to worry about being bullied.”

Maines was born male but identifies as female. Her family filed suit along with the state’s Human Rights Commission after the Orono schools required Maines to use a unisex staff bathroom in the fifth grade, according to the Press Herald. The suit was amended in 2010 when she was also denied use of the girls’ bathroom in middle school. Maines now attends a private high school.

During the oral arguments, justices considered a conflict between two state laws, the Bangor Daily News says. One law, passed in the 1920s, requires separate boys’ and girls’ bathrooms in schools. Another, passed in 2005, bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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