Banned from both the boys and girl’s restrooms New Jersey high-school student Rubin Smyer’s rights were clearly violated. Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Performing Arts Academy then demanded that he uses a staff unisex bathroom, far from class, after a full year of using the correct facilities.
New Jersey’s human rights laws bans discrimination based on gender expression and identity in public accommodations. But sometimes educating the educators is the hardest thing to do.
Rubin began using the boys bathroom, but when it was time for students to put on a show at a local college, things changed, according to ABC 7
“My guidance counselor told me not only did she want me to use the girls dressing room,” he said. “But also, she wanted me to stop using the boys bathroom and the girls bathroom.”
He had one choice — one unisex bathroom located far away from his classes.
“They were undermining his self confidence and self esteem,” mom Jolene Smyers said. “And as a parent, I took issue with that immediately.”
But Rubin stepped up, and it paid off.
Rubin wrote this on his petition declaring victory:
Dec 10, 2014 — Today I was called down to the office to talk to my principal. She said she’d just gotten off the phone with the superintendent who told her that I should be free to use whatever bathroom I feel comfortable in. Just like that, in an instant, everything has changed. I won.
I can only hope that this precedent will be followed by administration in relation to any other trans person who comes to my school, and boy do i hope that if it’s not, the student being oppressed will speak up against these orders and cite my situation as support for theirs.
Thank you all so much for supporting and encouraging me. Without you, no one would have listened to me. Just remember, I am one student in one school in one school district. There are so many other kids out there in the same position as me, or even more discriminatory and damaging ones. We have won what is only one battle of the war. Now get out there, and keep advocating for equal rights for everyone!