Cleary Files Amicus Brief in Support of Florida Transgender Student

November 26, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on November 26, 2021, in support of a Florida transgender student, Andrew Adams, who was denied access to the boys’ restroom at his school because he was transgender.

The brief was filed on behalf of school districts, school board members, and school administrators from 22 states and the District of Columbia who have developed and implemented policies that reaffirm the identities of transgender students and discusses their positive experiences with developing and enacting policies inclusive toward transgender students. Amici explain in their brief that such policies benefit not only the transgender students within the amici’s school districts but also their school communities at large.

Adams v. School Board of St. John’s County is currently pending en banc review before the Eleventh Circuit after a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of plaintiff-appellee Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams challenges his Florida school district’s policy, which purports to require that students use restrooms matching their “biological sex.” This policy, Mr. Adams reasserts on appeal, treats him differently from other boys—by excluding him from the boys’ restroom—because he is transgender, in violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX.

Amici note that under transgender affirming policies, no student is required to use a restroom that does not correspond with their identity. Amici discuss how forcing a student to use a restroom that does not correspond to their identity can be disruptive and may create unnecessary confusion and discomfort for both transgender students and their classmates. Contrary to the defendant-appellant school district’s arguments that inclusive policies do not protect student privacy and could lead to a breakdown of gender-segregated spaces, amici explain that in their experience, policies inclusive toward transgender students in fact increase and enhance student privacy and comfort and help all students to recognize and respect each other’s identities.

Read the amicus brief here.