The Supreme Court of the United States has placed a hold on “the Gloucester County School Board to allow “G.G.” to use the boys’ bathroom at Gloucester High School”. The case about whether a trans student can be seen as their gender or whether there should be some special restriction on how they participate in public life.
There is hope that the Supreme Court will allow the district court’s order — which allowed this particular trans student to enjoy all the benefits and disadvantages of his gender — to stand since Stephen Breyer seemed to be maintaining the “status quo” instead of indicating his own judicial opinion.
… Three of the Court’s more liberal Justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan – would have denied the board’s request. But Justice Stephen Breyer indicated that he had voted to grant the board’s application “as a courtesy” – a practice most commonly seen (at least in the past) in last-minute death penalty proceedings. Breyer noted that four of his colleagues – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito – had voted to block the district court’s order temporarily, and he added that doing so would simply “preserve the status quo” until the Court can rule on the board’s petition for review.
With that decision by Stephen Breyer, it will be at least August 29, 2016 before any further information will be known about a possible outcome.
I, along with many trans people, will be watching this case closely. There are so many questions waiting to be answered by this case:
- Will trans people be treated as equal members in society?
- Can damage be inflicted on trans people for the (possible) comfort of cis people?
- Will equal access for trans people remain limited?
- Will the progress made for trans people over the last several years be undone?
While we know that it shouldn’t be that difficult to accept trans people for whom they are, history tells us that it is always a difficult struggle for most minority groups to be treated as equal. People of color, while having made great strides, are still suffering from mostly covert, but occasionally overt, discrimination; and that is even after a Constitutional amendment was passed in an attempt at equality. Women still suffer from a system of sexism that can be statistically identified. Non-dominant religious groups — atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and others — still struggle to have access to the workings of society without being ostracised for their religious practices.
Because of my privileges the trans question will come closer to affecting me than many of the other questions, but this is just the latest line in a long string of questions that essentially ask whether we can all be treated as human or whether some lives are considered more disposable than others.