The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine has ruled that a transgender individual's rights were violated when she was denied access to the girls' bathroom at an elementary school.
The ruling came as a result of transgender student Nicole Maines' successful lawsuit against the Oreno School District. Maines, who is biologically a male but has identified as female since age two, had been using the girls’ bathroom in Oreno district public schools until 2009, when district officials suggested she use the staff bathroom instead.
According to the Daily Mail, school officials intervened only when a fifth-grade boy complained to administrators about the issue. Maines’ family subsequently sued along with the assistance of the Maine Human Rights Commission. Maines was in fifth grade at the time.
According to the AP, this ruling marks the first time a state high court has allowed a transgendered individual to use the public bathroom of the gender with which he or she identifies. Although the ruling should have a ripple effect across other districts throughout the state of Maine, it currently applies specifically to the state alone. Other states such as California and Colorado have had similar instances of transgender issues in schools occur, but no other state or federal entities have made rulings such as the one issued by Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court, which found the Oreno School District in violation of the Maine Human Rights Act.
Nicole’s father Wayne Maines has expressed unflinching support for his daughter throughout her life. He explained that he was pleased with the court’s ruling.
“It sends a message to my kids that you can believe in the system and that it can work. I’m just going to hug my kids and enjoy the moment, and do some healing,” Wayne said.