Anti-LGBTI group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has asked the United States Supreme Court to mandate segregation of transgender students.
Who is the ADF?
The ADF is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Founded by 30 far-right Christians, the ADF has a history of claiming the ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy society. They have also supported the state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad. Additionally, they fight for ‘religious liberty’ laws that allow for discrimination against the LGBTI community
Earlier this year, the ADF alleged a 5-year-old at an elementary school was assaulted by a genderfluid student in the bathroom. This claim led to Trump’s Education Department, led by Betsy DeVos, to investigate the matter.
Now, the ADF is urging the Supreme Court to mandate trans students only use single-stall restrooms for the ‘comfort’ of cisgender students.
In its petition to the Court, the ADF is asking that the trans-inclusive restroom policy at Boyertown Area Senior High School in southeastern Pennsylvania be overturned.
This policy was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. They argued that it is important for trans students to be recognized by their gender identity and excluding them from certain facilities is detrimental to their well-being.
While the students represented by the ADF may be ‘uncomfortable,’ the court ruled, it is not on comparable to the discrimination faced by trans students.
The ADF’s newest petition attempts to downplay the legitimacy of transgender identities. They even framed their request as an accommodation, rather than type of discrimination.
‘Boyertown never tried a comprehensive policy of making single-user facilities available to and providing support for students experiencing gender dysphoria,’ the ADF argued.
‘This would appear to be a logical first step to at least try before granting opposite-sex students access to locker rooms and restrooms where teenage students are undressing.’
The Third Circuit Court found that segregating trans students is, in fact, a form of discrimination. In response, the ADF said, ‘Apparently, forcing Petitioners to use single-user facilities is not.’
The ADF is calling for a policy that would force trans students to only use single-stall restrooms. The current policy at Boyertown does not force any student out of facilities. Despite the ADF’s claims, their clients aren’t ‘forced’ into anything. Rather, they can simply opt not to share facilities with trans students.
The ADF’s language
Throughout the petition, the ADF frames trans students as simply having ‘beliefs about their gender.’ Plus, it continually misgenders the trans students in question. Additionally, they cite numerous debunked myths about trans people. For instance, they argue it’s not necessary to affirm the identity of trans students. Because, they claim, it’s a phase and most people will ‘grow out’ of it. This theory, called the Distance Myth, has been widely disputed by scholars and therapists.
Additionally, the ADF argues that gender dysphoria can be treated by working with trans people to reject their identities. They compare this to treatments of eating disorders like anorexia.
This is the fifth case relating to LGBTI rights that the Supreme Court is currently being asked to hear. One case involves an Oregon baker seeking to discriminate against same-sex couples. There are two cases addressing whether it’s legal to fire someone over their sexual orientation. In another case, which the ADF is also involved in, a funeral home is seeking to legally fire people for being trans. The Court has yet to announce if it will be hearing any of them.