Indo-American Girl Sues School Over Gender Identity


WASHINGTON – An eight-year-old Indian-American transgender girl and her family are suing a private school in California for forcing her to dress as a boy and preventing the child from expressing her preferred gender identity.

The Punjabi-American girl, designated ‘male’ at birth, was a student at Heritage Oak Private Education in Yorba Linda till February 2017. The lawsuit alleges that the school violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The school didn’t allow the child to wear the school’s girls’ uniform, use the girls’ bathroom or be called a “she”. It said that the move would “create an imbalance in our environment”, the report said. The lawsuit alleged that the girl  experienced social isolation. The girls would not play with her because she had to dress like a boy and she found the boys’ games too rough. Boys would bully the youngster, calling her “a loser”, it said.

The suit is noteworthy because it is “the first (transgender rights) case to use a state anti-discrimination law as one of the grounds for relief,” said Mark Rosenbaum, Director of the pro bono Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law. “In light of the Trump Administration’s inaction on taking a stand against discrimination against trans individuals… this is a terribly important case,” he said.

The girl’s parents have filed the suit against the school, its Executive Director Phyllis Cygan and the school’s parent group, Nobel Learning Communities.