The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania rejected a discrimination lawsuit by a transgender man who was expelled from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in January 2012 for insisting on using men’s restroom and locker room facilities. Johnston v. University of Pittsburgh, 2015 WL 1497753, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41823 (W.D. Pa., March 31, 2015). Just one day before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the Army had unlawfully discriminated against a transgender woman by denying her the right to use women’s facilities (see above), U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson reached an opposite conclusion in his March 31 decision, finding that transgender legal precedents under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act did not apply to this lawsuit, which was brought under Title IX of the Higher Education Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff filed an appeal in the 3rd Circuit on April 24.

The plaintiff, Seamus Johnston, was identified female at birth but by age nine had begun to self-identify as a boy, coming out to his parents. He began living in accordance with his male gender identity beginning in May 2009, and one year later obtained counseling, being diagnosed by a psychotherapist as having a gender identity disorder. A year later, he began hormone treatments. In 2009 Johnston began the process of amending identification documents to reflect his male identity, and he obtained a common law name change in 2010. His driver’s license was changed to his new name and gender identification in 2011, and he registered with the Selective Service system as a man in July 2011. His amended passport was issued in February 2012, and he amended the gender marker in his Social Security records in November 2013. However, he did not obtain a new birth certificate.

For the full story, access the May 2015 issue of Lesbian/Gay Law Notes.