A transgender teen successfully sued his school after being told not to use the men’s restrooms even though he had begun his transition.
Drew Adams, now 19, of Tallahassee, Florida, took legal action against the St. Johns County School District in 2017 after being forced to use the girls’ bathroom or a gender-neutral bathroom with one toilet.
The teenager began the legal process at the age of 16 and has spent the past three years in a grueling battle to allow transgender students to use toilets that match their gender identity.
Speak against Radio 1 Newsbeat, he shared how, after being denied use of the men’s restrooms at the age of 14, he felt “ small, nervous and terrified, ” and as if he had “ done something wrong ” because he wanted to use the men’s restrooms.
Drew Adams, now 19, of Tallahassee, Florida, pictured last year, has successfully sued his school after being told not to use the men’s room
The teenager, pictured with his mother Erica Kasper, began legal proceedings at the age of 16 and has spent the past three years in a grueling legal battle.
Although his assigned gender was female at birth, Drew began his transition to male before enrolling in Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach.
However, the school district pointed to forms filled out when Drew was in his fourth year at school that mentioned him as a girl, saying he couldn’t use the boys’ bathroom as a result.
Drew’s mother Erica Kasper filed a civil rights complaint in 2016 – which can be filed in the US if you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, color, nationality, disability, age, gender or religion.
A year later, Drew and Erica decided to take legal action after claiming their various complaints were ignored. An original lawsuit filed in 2018 was won by Drew, but the school appealed the decision, leading to Drew’s latest victory.
The teenager, pictured after his victory at the court of appeal, has told how he felt “ small, nervous and terrified ” after being denied use of the men’s toilets at the age of 14.
However, Drew suspects the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court if there are future appeals.
“I can’t speculate about what could happen,” Drew said. ‘But I do know that transgender people cannot wait. The right time for trans rights is now. ‘
The latest ruling pertains to schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, but the win is considered a milestone for transgender rights beyond the use of high school bathrooms.
The ruling noted that Drew had already undergone physical transitions, including the removal of breast tissue and hormones that promote secondary masculine characteristics and a deepening of his voice.
Drew, pictured last year, has since graduated from high school and is attending the University of Central Florida
The ruling dismissed the school board alleging that the privacy of male students would be compromised if Drew were to use the boys ‘restroom and that some boys could claim to be’ gender fluid ‘to be voyeurs in the girls’ restroom. The court said there was no evidence that this was the case.
Drew has since graduated from high school and is attending the University of Central Florida.
Paul Castillo, an attorney for Lambda Legal, an organization that fights for LGBTQ rights, said at the time of the ruling that, while affecting a few states immediately, the outcome could have a national impact.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with his determination over the years and his unwavering commitment to LGBTQ equality, especially for transgender youth,” said Castillo.
“Even though he’s graduated, he continues to empower himself through his cause to help thousands of transgender youth across the country.”