We fought for the safety of transgender and non-binary in Madison and won, but more work lies ahead.
In June, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) withdrew their appeal of the Dane County Circuit Court's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Madison Metropolitan School District policy against forced outing of transgender and nonbinary students.
The national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Wisconsin, with pro bono assistance from Quarles & Brady, defended the school policy on behalf of three Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) in the Madison Metropolitan School District.
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The policy, which advises school officials not to disclose a student's use of pronouns or names inconsistent with their sex assigned at birth without the student's consent, was originally challenged by 14 anonymous parents, all of whom previously had dismissed their claims except one, who did not assert they had trans or nonbinary children.
The decision to drop the case comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently declined to take up the appeal, denying WILL's request to bypass the Court of Appeals and rule on the case directly. Since the sole remaining plaintiff no longer wishes to appeal, the circuit court's initial decision to throw out the suit is final.
While this is a victory, and the District will be able to continue to allow welcoming and safe spaces for transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender-expansive MMSD students, this work is not done. We will need your help to keep fighting for the rights of our students.
Anti-trans legislation is introduced regularly nationwide, and policies protecting LGBTQIA+ youth are attacked daily. We keep saying it – trans people belong, and we must keep working hard to ensure that all LGBTQIA+ Wisconsin students stay safe in their schools. <[link removed]>
Thanks for sticking with us,
Dr. Melinda Brennan
Pronouns: She, her, ella
Executive Director, ACLU of Wisconsin