Teen Sues School for Trying to Make Trans Students Wear Identifying Wristbands

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(Via Giphy)

Laws allowing trans people to use whatever bathroom they want, or laws barring them from doing so, have been in the news a lot lately. Trans bathroom rights are important. They’re about safety and comfort and not opening trans people up to harassment or danger by forcing them to go into a public restroom where they don’t fit in or feel safe. They’re also about the basic dignity of legally acknowledging that trans people are the gender they say they are.

Now one trans student is suing his Wisconsin high school for allegedly planning to make him and other transgender students wear–I shit you not–bright green wristbands identifying them as transgender, so that school officials would know to make them use the bathrooms corresponding to the sex they were assigned at birth.

According to Mashable, 16-year-old prom king Ash Whitaker is suing the Kenosha Unified School District for “branding” trans students with green wristbands.

“Branding transgender students in this way would single them out for additional scrutiny, stigma, and potentially harassment or violence, and violate their privacy by revealing their transgender status to others,” the lawsuit says.

Whitaker says that his guidance counselor showed him a green wristband and said that the school was going to make trans kids wear them next year, and that the wristband would let school staff know not to let Whitaker into the boys’ restroom.

The idea of forcing trans kids to wear special bracelets is appalling and discriminatory and just plain weird. We’re not allowed to put marks on people to make them targets and single them out for discrimination.

Whitaker’s school district has reportedly banned forms of discrimination based on gender identity, but it says that allowing kids to use the bathrooms they want would be “decided by a school counselor or a principal on a case-by-case basis.” That certainly sounds like opening the door to discrimination based on gender identity. Principals have no business standing around assessing whether or not a kid is “boy” or “girl” enough to use the bathroom.