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Transgender high school student at wins appeal

Ashton Whitaker, right hugs his mom Melissa in Kenosha, Wisc. A federal appeals court says Ashton, a transgender senior student, who identifies as a male, should be able to use the boys' bathroom at at Kenosha's Tremper High School. (Transgender Law Center via AP)

Ashton Whitaker (right) hugs his mom, Melissa, in Kenosha recently. A federal appeals court says Ashton, a transgender senior student, who identifies as a male, should be able to use the boys’ bathroom at at Kenosha’s Tremper High School. (Transgender Law Center via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal appeals court says a transgender student who identifies himself as a male should be able to use the boys’ bathroom at his Wisconsin high school.

In September, U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper granted the 17-year-old high school senior Ashton Whitaker permission to use the boys’ bathroom at Kenosha’s Tremper High School. Kenosha Unified School District appealed the ruling, arguing that the harm to other students, particularly male students using the bathroom, outweighs any harm to Whitaker.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this reasoning on Tuesday. Judge Ann Claire Williams says any harm to others is speculative while the actual harm done to Whitaker is well documented. That includes suicidal thoughts as well as medical issues stemming from avoiding the bathroom.

A lawyer for the school district didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

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