Williamson Co. family files lawsuit after transgender bathroom bill

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:24 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - An 8-year-old Williamson County student says she feels mistreated because of the school bathroom she’s forced to use. It’s affected this student to the point her parents are suing the Williamson County School Board and the Tennessee Department of Education.

In the lawsuit, it says the student is transgender. She was a male at birth and now identifies as a female. She went back to school this year where she was told to use her own bathroom.

D.H., as she is anonymously called in the litigation, started third grade at an undisclosed Williamson County elementary school this year. The lawsuit says she loves state parks, hiking, and painting her nails.

Her parents, A.H. and E.H., are now asking for school administrators to allow D.H. to use the girl’s bathroom like other students she identifies with.

“It’s not unusual for young people to have an awareness by the age of five of what their gender is,” said Will French, chair of GLSEN, Tennessee chapter. The organization educates youth about the LGBTQ+ community. “Transgender youth disproportionately experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation.”

In fact, the lawsuit says D.H. has an adjustment disorder. She’s unhappy because of the School Facilities Law Governor Bill Lee signed last year. That law requires public schools provide alternative facilities where transgender students can use the bathroom.

The lawsuit says the school offered D.H. a single-occupancy restroom, which at times was covered in human waste.

“The fact that this child has to presumably clean up the restroom before they can even use it, or they have to seek out a janitor for the janitor to clean it before they can use it is appalling to me,” French said.

The litigation also says D.H. was forced to out herself as transgender to janitorial staff and students to use the bathroom.

French said he expects many more lawsuits will be filed across the country.

“At a minimum, I think we will see a lot more complaints,” French said.

Last year, one parent filed a similar lawsuit against Wilson County Schools.

The Human Rights Campaign says that lawsuit was dismissed and the family moved out of state.

WSMV 4′s Marissa Sulek reached out the Williamson County School Board for comment. The school board says it does not comment on pending litigation.

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