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article imageTransgender student suing school over use of girls bathroom

By Eric Morales     Jun 12, 2013 in Lifestyle
Bangor - Nicole Maines says her rights were violated when she was forced to use a different bathroom because a student's family member complained.
Nicole Maines was born a boy, however from an early age she has felt more like a girl. Now the 15-year-old and her family are locked in a legal battle, over something very mundane. As a female Nicole Maines wanted to use the girls bathroom at school, however an elementary school in Maine refused the then fifth grader's request.
Her fight has taken her all the way to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and standing by her side is her twin brother Jonas.
Nicole Maines' family and the Maine Human Rights Commission had previously joined together in a lawsuit against the school district for violating Nicole's rights according to the Huffington Post. However a Superior Court in Maine ruled that the Orono school district acted within their discretion by asking Nicole to use a staff lavatory, instead of the girls bathroom used by students.
Maines who is now a sophmore in high school is appealing that decision. She says the experience has been hard, and states that she shouldn't be subjected to abuse for being transgender.
"I hope they understood how important it is for students to be able to go to school and get an education and have fun and make friends, and not have to worry about being bullied by students or administration, and be accepted for who they are," Nicole said.
The state of Maine's Human Rights Act prohibitions discrimination based on gender and orientation, however state law requires separate bathrooms for boys and girls.
The school district's lawyer wants the State legislature to clarify the issue.
"To the extent that the people in Maine decide that this law in Maine should be changed, then that should be done. But right now the law is what it is, and our school district didn't violate it." Melissa Hewey said.
According to Nicole's attorney what really matters in this case is far more that what kind of bathroom Nicole is allowed to use, but rather the status of rights for the larger Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender community.
"At the core of this case is whether the promise of equal educational opportunities for transgender students is realized." Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project for the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders said.
The school initially allowed Nicole Maines to use the girls bathroom, however they stopped when a student's grandfather complained.
Maines attorney's say that the 15-year-old girl was singled out by the school district by being told to use a staff bathroom. That her attorney's say amounts to discrimination under the Maine Human Rights Act.
"It has been extremely difficult, but I'm pleased to be here and to have our case heard, and I'm very hopeful for a good outcome," Nicole and Jonas' father Wayne said outside of court.
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