Nicole Maines' Landmark Trans Rights Lawsuit Ends In A Victorious $75,000 Settlement
In a landmark case settled in January this year, a high court ruled for the first time that people should be allowed to use the bathroom that reflects which gender they identify with. In the latest update to the ruling, transgender teen Nicole Maines has been awarded $75,000 in the settlement with her school district.
Maines, who has identified as a woman her entire life, had been using the girls' bathroom at Asa Adams School before the grandfather of a classmate complained to administrators and followed her into the girls' restroom twice, claiming he also had a right to use it. After the incident, Maines was told she must use faculty bathrooms rather than student ones. In 2007, the then-fifth grader's family brought a lawsuit against the Orono school district, claiming that Maines had been discriminated against for being forced to use the unisex faculty restroom.
In January, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the district violated the Maine Human Rights Act. The Penobscot County Superior Court, which was tasked with awarding damages, handed down its decision November 25. The order also enjoined the school district from discriminating against transgender students in the future. The money will be divided among GLAAD, Portland law firm Berman Simmons, and the Maines family.
There is so much awesome about this case. Not least of which is that it has been celebrated and honored as a civil rights victory. Maines was one of the 50 women named by Glamour as a "Hometown Hero," which honors amazing women across the country. Maines has also signed her first book deal and plans on being an advocate for trans rights. She told Glamour that transgender teens can look to her court case as a victory for their rights across the country.
They can look at what happened in Maine and see...our state leaders validated that everyone gets to be whom they need to be.
Although Maines' father, Wayne Maines, has said that he is ready to return to a quieter life outside of the suit, can we have three cheers for good parenting? Not only have the Maines family, including Nicole's twin brother Jonas, given unwavering public support to Nicole, but they willingly launched into a seven-year legal process to force the state to recognize her human rights. Yes, just so much yes for all of this.
Images: Getty Images