#DrewsViews: Court Again – Matthew’s Place


Last week, I flew to Atlanta for the oral arguments of my lawsuit. For those of you who are new here, just over two and a half years ago, after two more years of trying everything else, my family and I, with the help of Lambda Legal, filed a lawsuit against my school district. I was a junior in high school at the time, and my school district had been forcing me to use the gender neutral bathroom for two years, instead of the men’s rooms like I wanted. After a trial in federal court, and after a year of waiting since we filed the lawsuit, we got an astonishing victory. The school district appealed the case after that, and now the case is up at the 11th Circuit court of appeals, which is why I went up to Atlanta.

This lawsuit ate up half of my high school years, and the issue itself took up the remaining two. After moving on to college, in the wait between the school district appealing and the oral arguments, I moved on with my life. I graduated high school, earned my IB diploma, fell in love, started college, got a job that I love, and moved into an apartment. My entire life was different, and so was I.

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It was a weird change being back in a courtroom, surrounded by lawyers, in my nice suit and tie. I thought back to the very beginning–I worried a lot about lawyers and legal talk, but it became an everyday occurrence for me. All of a sudden, two years after the trial, it is alien to me once again, yet oddly familiar. The courtroom was made of beautifully sculpted wood and marble, with displays of the judges’ careers in the halls. Government buildings like these always fill me with a sense of empowerment, like I can achieve whatever I want to achieve, and like anything is possible.

The oral arguments lasted less than an hour. While I can’t speculate about what the judges were thinking, I can say that I’m hopeful for the outcome, and I’d say that no matter what. I’m hopeful for the next few years to bring in some serious change for our community.

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