17-year-old Nicole Maines has been awarded a $75,000 settlement in a lawsuit against the school that discriminated against her because she’s transgender.
When she was only in 5th grade, Nicole was told that she wasn’t allowed to use the girls’ bathroom and that she could only use a single-stall staff restroom. She sued the school district two years later, in 2009, saying she was discriminated against under the Maine Human Rights Act. Over the next five years her case made it all the way to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
"The question was, could [her father and I] say, ‘Sorry, Nicole. You just don’t have rights like the rest of the people do, so we just have to sit back and take it?’" Nicole’s mother Kelly Maines explained in a January press conference reported by local news station WMTW in the video below. “Or was it, ‘Look, this is a long process, you gotta go through it, [and] at the end we may win, we may lose. But at least you know you stood up for your rights?’”
Nicole’s victory, first announced in January, marks the first time a U.S. state’s high court has ruled that a trans person should use the bathroom of their affirmed gender, notes the AP.
Nicole was also named a Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine. Well-deserved.