Transgender Teen Fights For Bathroom Rights In Maine Schools

Nicole Maines, right, with her twin brother Jonas and mother Kelly. (Credit: Robert F. Bukaty/ AP)

On Wednesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments about whether or not a transgender student should be able to use the bathroom appropriate to her gender identity. When Nicole Maines was in fifth grade, she already identified and presented as a girl and was using the girls’ restroom at school. One boy insisted on monitoring her habits and ultimately his grandfather complained about her to the school. The school decided to force her to only use the staff bathroom, which isolated her form her peers and led to her being bullied and ostracized more.

Nicole is now 15 and planning to undergo a physical transition to further find authenticity in her gender identity. The Maine Human Rights Commission supports her family’s case, arguing that the Maine Human Rights Act bars discrimination based on sex.

A Colorado family is seeking the same relief for their six-year-old trans daughter, who was also forced to use either the boys’ room or a staff or nurse’s bathroom.

In both cases, the schools have argued these girls’ gender is irrelevant and that what genitals they have should determine what bathroom they use. Such a perspective erases their identities and opens them up to both ridicule and legitimate safety concerns.