Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Maine Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Transgender Female

Nicole, a transgender female student attending public school in Maine, is finally receiving the justice she deserves. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that Nicole, or any transgender individual for that matter, has the right to use the bathroom that matches his or her gender identity. This is the first court ruling in the entire NATION in which it was stated to be unlawful to force a child in public school to use the bathroom of the sex he or she was born with.

Nicole's legal battle began in 2007 when she was still in elementary school. Identifying as female, she was using the women's bathroom in her school. After a complaint from a few other parents in the school, the school decided that she must use a bathroom designated for staff only because it was not a gender specific bathroom. Nicole's parents were outraged, and for the first time in history, the Court listened and upheld her rights as a human being.

Justice Warren Silver, writing for the majority, had this to say- “Our opinion must not be read to require schools to permit students casual access to any bathroom of their choice. Decisions about how to address students’ legitimate gender identity issues are not to be taken lightly. Where, as here, it has been clearly established that a student’s psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity, denying access to the appropriate bathroom constitutes sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the MHRC (Maine Human Rights Commission).”

 Although the outcome was positive, Nicole stated that "She was glad the court heard her case but wouldn't wish her experience on another trans person." Hopefully her experience highlights the important issue that we need gender neutral bathrooms available for ALL in public places and creates legal controversy in which it becomes possible to enact positive change.

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