James Joins Coalition of States Backing Trans Student in Florida Bathroom Case

Trans student Drew Adams is receiving support from attorneys generals in nearly two dozen states in the 11th Circuit case.
Lambda Legal

New York State Attorney General Letitia James and 22 other attorneys general on November 28 filed an amicus brief supporting a transgender man who sued a school he attended in St. John’s County, Florida after he was barred from using the boys’ bathroom.

Drew Adams sued the St. Johns County school board in response to the board’s policy preventing him from being able to use the boys’ bathroom at Nease High School, which is about 25 miles south of Jacksonville. Adams has insisted that the policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment as well as Title IX, the 1972 landmark law that banned sex discrimination in federally-funded academic and athletic programs.

Drew’s case emerged after an anonymous complaint was filed against him when two girls saw him entering the boys’ bathroom — despite the fact that Drew had been using the boys’ bathroom for weeks without any complaints from boys. At the time of the complaints, Drew also had government-issued identification affirming his gender identity.

The attorneys general filed the brief during en banc proceedings before the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. In 2020, the 11th Circuit upheld District Judge Timothy Corrigan’s ruling that the board violated Equal Protection Clause and Title IX, but a subsequent ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit in July of this year was limited to the Equal Protection Clause. Now the full 11th Circuit is preparing to hear the case in February at the request of the school board, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“Transgender students deserve to feel safe and respected at all times, especially at school,” James said in a written statement. “Denying transgender students access to the correct bathroom cultivates a culture of intolerance and is blatant discrimination. This lawsuit is about more than just equal bathroom access — it is about eliminating unfair treatment… Drew Adams should have never been discriminated against and the continued efforts to discriminate against transgender students is exactly why our coalition will do everything in our power to ensure they are provided with equal protection under the law.”

New York and other states have maintained support of Adams dating back to 2019 when James joined 21 attorneys general in filing a similar amicus brief with the 11th Circuit.

Other attorneys general are joining the amicus brief from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaiʻi, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, DC.