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Press Release AG Healey Joins U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Transgender Rights Case

Coalition of 19 Attorneys General File Brief Making Strong Case in Support of Transgender Students
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  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Joins U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Transgender Rights Case

Jillian Fennimore

BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey joined an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a transgender student who is suing a school in Gloucester County, Virginia for discrimination.

The amicus brief, signed by 19 attorneys general and filed Thursday night, argues that discrimination on the basis of gender identity causes real and significant harm to both transgender people and the states themselves. The plaintiff – whose name is Gavin Grimm or G.G. – sued the Gloucester County School Board two years ago after it barred him from using the boys’ bathroom.

“In Massachusetts, we took action to pass strong state laws that prohibit discrimination in our schools, and those critical protections remain in place for our students,” AG Healey said. “Under Title IX, schools across this country have an obligation to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. The transgender community has suffered discrimination, harassment and inadequate legal protections for too long, and I am confident that the Supreme Court will affirm their rights.”

The case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court on March 28. The court will decide whether the school board’s policy prohibiting transgender boys and girls from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity discriminates against transgender students on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX – a federal law that requires schools to prevent discrimination against students in any federally-funded education program or activity.

The attorneys general argue in their brief that it’s critical that entities receiving Title IX funds not be allowed to discriminate in this way – which could open the door to denying transgender people equality in other ways and places.

“The amici States strongly support the right of transgender people – individuals whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth – to live with dignity, be free from discrimination, and have equal access to employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and other necessities of life. Discrimination against transgender people has no legitimate basis, and serves only to injure a group that is feared for being different. It harms transgender people at work, at school, and in other settings, causing tangible economic, emotional, and health consequences,” the brief states.

Joining AG Healey in the amicus brief – co-authored by New York and Washington – are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

The amicus brief follows many steps taken by the AG’s Office to protect the civil rights of transgender individuals.

Last week, AG Healey stood with transgender families, LGBTQ advocates, and state leaders to speak out against the Trump Administration’s decision to reverse the federal government’s position on protections for transgender students in our schools. Laws in Massachusetts that have been in place for more than three years to protect transgender students, as well as guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) links to PDF file on creating a safe and supportive school environment for everyone, were also highlighted.

AG Healey also worked closely with advocates to garner support for the transgender public accommodations law that passed last year. In October 2015, AG Healey testified in support of the legislation and submitted a letter  links to PDF file advocating for its passage. Dozens of Massachusetts businesses also joined the AG’s Office in a letter urging the Legislature to take a favorable vote on legislation.

In March 2016, the AG’s Office launched the #EveryoneWelcome social media campaign, featuring short video messages from celebrity allies of the transgender community and families from across the state. Freedom for All Americans recently launched the #EveryoneWelcome campaign nationally, encouraging people to record a video message of their own to show support.


Media Contact for AG Healey Joins U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Transgender Rights Case

Office of the Attorney General 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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