Not In My School: Doe v. Yunits
GLAD obtained a landmark ruling, in the first reported decision ever in a case brought by a transgender student, that a middle school may not prohibit a transgender student from expressing her female gender identity. Disciplining a biologically male student for wearing girls’ clothing violates her First Amendment rights of free expression and constitutes sex discrimination. The Superior Court decision confirms that a school may not exert its authority over a student simply to enforce stereotyped ideas of how boys and girls should look, a ruling that has significant impact for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
GLAD brought the case against the Brockton School Department when the school prohibited our client, known in court documents only as Pat Doe, from attending school wearing what the principal considered to be girls’ clothing after nearly two years of disciplinary action against Pat for her choice of clothes.
A single justice of the appeals court affirmed the Superior Court injunction. Also, the trial court denied the school’s motions to dismiss Pat Doe’s disability and due process claims. In a first of its kind ruling, the court held that Massachusetts disability law, unlike federal law, does not exclude transgender people from its protections.