NJ Transgender Teen Wins Battle to Use Boys Bathroom at His School


New Jersey transgender teen Rubin Smyers is celebrating a battle he won to use the boys bathroom at his school. More from the Asbury Park Press:

smyersRubin Smyers, a junior at Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Performing Arts Academy, said he was granted access to the boys bathroom this month after school officials previously forced him to use a unisex facility.

Smyers protested the school’s decision by creating a petition that spread through social media and gained the support of nearly 2,000 people.

Smyers [came out as transgender in] 2013 and began using the boys bathroom at school that same year.

It wasn’t until this past May that school officials raised an issue with the bathroom Smyers used. He said the staff was torn over whether he should use the girls or boys dressing room during the school’s Spring Vocal Showcase at Ocean County Community College. …

Smyers said he complied, but decided in October to start the petition and urge the school’s administration to grant him access to the boys bathroom.

Smyers got help from New Jersey LGBT advocacy group Garden State Equality (GSE), who wrote a letter to the school informing officials that transgender people are protected in such matters by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

“What Rubin did was he got the school to follow the law,” says GSE Executive Director Andrea Bowen. “He applied pressure really smartly, he wasn’t threatening about it, he scheduled meetings and got public support on his side. We are really celebrating his achievement.”

Of his victory, Smyers told Asbury Park Press that, “I’m definitely happy about it … but in a way, I almost wasn’t as thrilled or excited as I expected to be. They were giving me permission for something I already had the right to do.”

Amen to that. But congrats, congrats, congrats, nonetheless.