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A Federal Court Will Hear Florida Transgender Bathroom Case in February

Bathrooms remain a key issue for employers and for co-workers who don't feel comfortable sharing bathrooms with transgender people, says Mark Marsen, a human resources director.

A full federal appeals court will hear arguments in February in a battle about whether a transgender male student should have been allowed to use boys’ bathrooms at a St. Johns County high school.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to consider the long-running case during the week of Feb. 21 in Atlanta, according to a memo posted in an online docket.

A divided three-judge panel of the court ruled in July that a St. Johns County School Board policy preventing Drew Adams from using boys’ bathrooms was “arbitrary” and violated equal protection rights. But the school board asked the full appeals court to hear the case — a request known as seeking an “en banc” hearing.

The court granted the request in August and vacated the panel ruling. Adams was born a biological female but in eighth grade told his parents he was a transgender male, according to the July ruling. The lawsuit, which Adams and his mother filed in 2017, stemmed from Nease High School requiring Adams to use a gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom or girls’ bathrooms. U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan ruled in favor of Adams in 2018, prompting the school board to launch the appeal. Adams has graduated from the school as the court fight has continued.