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Jul 21 2016
by Jenna Ciccotelli

A Transgender Student Who Wasn't Allowed To Run For Prom King is Suing His High School

By Jenna Ciccotelli - Jul 21 2016
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A 16 year old Wisconsin student is suing his high school after being discriminated against based on his transgender identity. 

Ash Whitaker, a student at Tremper High School in Kenosha, WI, filed a lawsuit against the Kenosha Unified school district and its superintendent for failing to protect Whitaker's Title IX and constitutional rights. The lawsuit was described on the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

The lawsuit says district officials among other things denied him access to the boys' restrooms, intentionally and repeatedly used his birth name and female pronouns to identify him; instructed guidance counselors to issue bright green wristbands to Whitaker and any other transgender students to more easily monitor their bathroom use; and required him to room with girls on overnight school trips.

Last spring, Whitaker was told he could not run for prom king due to his gender identity. He created an online petition that gathered over 7,000 signatures and fellow students arranged a sit-in at the school's main office. The school reversed their decision and Whitaker made it on the king's court. 

"It is not about the Prom King court itself, it is not about the bathroom usage itself, it is the concept behind it. I am not being treated on an equal level with other teenage boys who attend the school," Whitaker told Fresh U last spring.

Whitaker remained hopeful last spring in the midst of his fight for prom king, telling Fresh U, "it gives me hope for the current and following generations of transgender students, because I believe that this has opened a door. It is a step forward to a more positive and welcoming educational environment."

Lead Image Credit: Ash Whitaker

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Jenna Ciccotelli - Northeastern University

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