Minneapolis-area trans teen wins settlement for school locker room, restroom ban

Thu. July 1, 2021 9:10 AM by Gerald Farinas

parents advocate for their trans children

photo credit // ted eytan

Minneapolis-area trans teen wins settlement for school locker room, restroom ban

St. Paul, Minn. - Matt Woods, an incoming high school senior, sued the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District for discrimination. The transgender teen was banned from using the boy's locker room and restroom facilities in accordance with his gender identity. A settlement was reached and Woods won $218,500.

The Minneapolis-area school district will also change its policies to reflect nondiscrimination of transgender and nonbinary students, protecting their civil rights. Among those policies is also a recognition of the civil right to play sports with teams that match students' gender identity.

"No one else had to go through what I went throught," Woods said in a statement to local news affiliates. "Gender affirming policies will save lives."

The initial lawsuit was filed in 2019 after Woods had transitioned to using he/him pronouns. He expressed feeling humiliated to be forced to use a single-occupancy restroom apart from his peers.

Minnesota Department of Education appealed to the school to change their discriminatory policy for the health and well-being of Woods and other transgender students. It would also deflect the department from further lawsuits. The school district refused.

An Anoka-Hennepin School District student sued for similar discrimination and in 2020, Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that forcing a student to use separate facilities was in violation of the student's constitutional rights.

Woods' parents shared that they struggled to watch their son emotionally and mentally hurt, eventually helping him through medical treatment.

Several states have largely Republican legislators aiming to pass laws that would allow their school districts to discriminate against trans students, especially in athletics.