Juliet Evancho Has Won A Victory In The Fight For Transgender Bathroom Rights

Her school district will end its anti-trans policy.



At a difficult time for the transgender community, there's some positive progress to share. 

Juliet Evancho, a trans teenager who stood up with two other students to her Pennsylvania school district's discriminatory bathroom policy in a federal lawsuit, won a victory in the case. Lambda Legal recently announced that it had reached a settlement with the Pine-Richland School District to end a policy which prevented transgender students from using bathrooms which matched their gender identities. The settlement, which includes a monetary payment, also requires the district to "include gender identity in its nondiscrimination policies and practices."

"This is a victory for transgender students everywhere and sends a clear warning to school districts with anti-transgender bathroom policies," Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said in a statement. "Although Juliet, Elissa [Ridenour] and A.S. have now graduated, their courage has opened doors for current and future transgender students at Pine-Richland and elsewhere who will no longer be barred from using the bathroom that matches who they are. The settlement affirms that transgender students, like all students, deserve to be respected for who they are."

"No one should have to go through what we went through and I'm so happy that transgender students at Pine-Richland High will no longer be discriminated against," fellow plaintiff Elissa Ridenour said. "All of us had been using the restrooms that match who we are with no problems until some parents and outside groups complained. But, I'm glad the school district finally did the right thing."

Juliet Evancho is the older sister of Jackie Evancho, a former America's Got Talent contestant who sang the National Anthem at President Donald Trump's inauguration. After Trump revoked Obama's guidance on transgender students' bathroom rights earlier this year, Jackie tweeted asking the president to meet with her and Juliet.

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit in October 2016 on behalf of Juliet Evancho, Elissa Ridenour, and a third student known only as A.S. due to his status as a minor. In February of this year, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction ruling that the three plaintiffs must be allowed access to bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities.

Juliet, who came out to the public in 2015, spoke with People earlier this year about the events leading up to the lawsuit.

"It wasn't an issue until March of that school year. I had been using the women's restroom without any repercussions for a really long time. All of a sudden, parents had issues with it, and it was being talked about at the board meetings for our school," she told the magazine. "So when I heard that they were talking about not letting us use the bathroom that we identify with, I was like, 'Oh my gosh. What am I going to do? It's just going to single me out even more.'"

Although she has since graduated, the actions of Juliet and her classmates have made a major difference for the transgender students who come after them.

(H/T: Huffington Post)

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