Nicole Maines, a 17 year-old transgender tenager from Orono, Maine, has won her discrimination lawsuit against the Orono school district after being forced to use a staff-only bathroom. A lower court awarded Maines and her family a settlement of $75,000 having found that the school district was in clear violation of the Maine Human Rights Act. The award will be split between the Maines family, their legal representation, and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders organization.
“A significant portion of the monetary award will go to the Maines’ family,” Carisa Cunningham, spokeswoman for GLAD, explained Monday. “We’re grateful that it was resolved favorably, not only for Nicole and her family but for all transgender students who are just seeking to get an education like every other student.”
The Maines family first raised the issue of their daughter’s discrimination to the Maine Human Rights Commission in 2009 while Nicole was still in middle school. Together the family and the Commission brought a lawsuit against Regional School Unit 26 in Penobscot County Superior Court where the family won their initial case. In 2012, however, a Superior Court Justice William Anderson reversed the decision and ruled in favor of the school district. In January, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court further review the Maines’s case and ultimately ruled in their favor.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Nicole’s father, Wayne Maines, said of the years long legal struggle. “We just want to move on. We just want to be normal.”
Watch Nicole Maines describe her fight to end discrimination at the 2011 GLAD Spirit of Justice Ceremony AFTER THE JUMP…