Missouri appeals court reinstates $4 million jury verdict for trans student against school district

(The Lion) — An Appeals Court in the Western District of Missouri reinstated a jury verdict against a school district that allegedly denied a transgender person use of male restroom and locker room facilities.

The plaintiff, who was transitioning from female to male in high school, alleged in a 2015 lawsuit that the Blue Springs School District (BSSD) denied equal access to facilities under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA).

In 2022, a jury found in favor of the teen and awarded $4.2 million in damages. But the trial judge overturned the verdict, saying that the plaintiff failed to prove the charges at the hearings.

However, the appeals court cited Bostock v. Clayton County in reversing the trial judge’s decision.

Bostock is a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that is helping President Joe Biden redefine the legal meaning of “sex” to mean gender identity.

Notably, Bostock was narrowly framed for cases of employment discrimination, not bathroom usage.

“For an employer to discriminate against employees for being homosexual or transgender, the employer must intentionally discriminate against individual men and women in part because of sex,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch in the Bostock text used by the appeals court to justify its decision on behalf of the plaintiff.

Critics of the Bostock decision have claimed it will be used as the thin edge of the wedge that will radically redefine gender identity into a protected class of people.

“The Bostock decision has become a complete disaster when it comes to protecting women and girls on the basis of sex throughout U.S. federal law,” said Kara Dansky, a feminist who opposes transgender ideology.

Notwithstanding Bostock, the appeals court cited other reasons to find for the plaintiff, namely that BSSD failed to inspect the plaintiff’s genitalia, while the district simultaneously rejected an amended birth certificate that declared the plaintiff to be a male.

More broadly, the appeals court said the Missouri Supreme Court previously found “that the term ‘sex’ as used in [Missouri Revised Statutes] section 213.065 is not limited to biological sex alone, and is… not ‘determined [solely] by the genitalia [an individual] displayed at birth.’”

Moreover, the court said that the amended birth certificate alone “was sufficient basis for the jury to have concluded that [the plaintiff] is male.”

The court added that under the MHRA, anyone transitioning from “female to male…could be considered to be of the male sex for purposes of an MHRA claim.”

In essence, the court found that under the MHRA, there is no legal way to stop a transgender person from using any facilities they choose.

BSSD said it was “disappointed” by the latest ruling and it’s “weighing its legal options” before deciding what comes next, according to local KSHB News 41 Kansas City.

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