A federal judge has upheld a landmark new law that makes it an offence to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Key points:Lawyers for trans children argued that they should not be forced to use the boys’ restroom and locker room at schoolUnder the law, a school cannot legally deny a child access to the facilities they need to participate in sports and educationThe court has found that a transgender person’s identity should be protected from discrimination and forced into the opposite gender”The court was struck on two counts, and the court found that the school could not constitutionally discriminate on grounds of sexual identity,” Justice Ian Binnie said.
“The school must not discriminate in terms of the student’s sex, or any other identifiable characteristic.”
The court heard that the new law would mean a child could not use a boys’ bathroom or locker room.
Justice Binnie also found that schools could not legally deny access to students based on their gender identity.
“In this case, the school has provided the school with a policy which is in clear breach of section 15 of the Equality Act.”
Schools cannot refuse to provide access to facilities which it believes are essential to the provision of education,” Justice Binnie told the hearing.
Justice Anthony Byrne told the court that it was not the school’s business to determine who should use the facilities.”
There is no such right in this case,” Justice Byrne said.
Justice Byrne said that the court was also concerned about how the new legislation would affect transgender people.”
Transgender people do not have the right to access facilities that would exclude them from access to sex-segregated facilities that are accessible to the rest of the community,” he said.’
They have a right to use whatever bathroom they want’Justice Anthony Higgins said that it would be an “unacceptable and discriminatory” decision to exclude a student from using a boys or girls’ locker room because they are transgender.”
They have the ability to use whichever bathroom they wish,” Justice Higgins said.
The hearing also heard from a trans child who said that he was not allowed to use a girls’ bathroom at school because of his gender identity and that he would have to use women’s facilities.
Justice Higgins also heard that transgender people were entitled to a place at the table in a school lunchroom, which was a right protected under the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Act.