Another Victory for Transgender Students

Adams v. School Board of St. John’s County, Florida (11th Cir. 2020)

By: Adria Lynn Silva on August 11, 2020


The Eleventh Circuit ruled that a School Board’s requirement that a transgender student use the bathroom of the sex assigned to the student at birth (or a unisex bathroom) violated Title IX’s mandate against gender discrimination. The majority refused to delve into whether Title IX’s definition of sex included discrimination against transgender students instead holding that such an inquiry was not necessary in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 U.S. ___ (2020), Bostock held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting gender and other forms of discrimination in employment) prohibited transgender discrimination because ‘it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being… transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex‘. Id. The majority also refused to give deference to the Department of Education 2017 roll backs of Obama era Guidance on transgender discrimination as sex discrimination under Title IX.

However, the majority incorrectly stated that Title VII and Title IX were both part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IX was enacted eight years after Title VII in June of 1972. Title IX was an amendment to the Education Act of 1971 amending the Education Act to prohibit sex discrimination in education. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

It is my understanding that the case has been polled meaning that the Eleventh Circuit has to decide if it wants the matter to be reheard in front of the entire Court.