Let Transgender People Choose Their Bathroom

Adam Winkler: To do otherwise amounts to discrimination

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 12, 2013 12:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – A court in Maine heard arguments today in the case of a 15-year-old student who is biologically male but identifies as female. The issue? Nicole Maines wanted to use the girls' bathroom, but her school forbade it, reports the AP. It's another sign that "the next frontier of the civil-rights movement is transgender and transsexual equality," writes UCLA law professor Adam Winkler in the New Republic. He hopes the case sends a message to the nation that it's time to rethink its views on gender-specific bathrooms.

"Restrooms are one of the last explicit vestiges of segregation on the basis of sex," writes Winkler. "In a nation evolved enough to allow women to serve in combat and have women on the presidential ticket, we still maintain strict and outdated rules that discriminate who can use which restroom." It's a widely accepted form of modern, "separate-but-equal" discrimination. We don't need to create third (or fourth) bathrooms for transgender people, writes Winkler. "We can simply allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity." Click for Winkler's full column.

Transgender student Nicole Maines listens during a hearing before the Maine Supreme Court Wednesday. Nicole was born a boy but identifies as a girl.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, pool)
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