Transgender teen sues suburban school district over denial of locker room access

PALATINE, Ill. -- Nova Maday, 18, wants to be seen as a typical teenager. She's a senior at Palatine High School. She loves music and photography.  And she is also transgender. She believes if people put a face to her lawsuit against the district, they'll understand better.

“A lot of this is just a lack of human understanding and education to it,” she said.

Maday was born a boy but identifies as a girl. She came out to her teachers and friends freshman year. She said they were amazingly supportive. She told her mother before school started.

“It was night and day, like the world was lifted off her shoulders and she was free to be herself,” Brencha Schweda, her mother, said.

Maday and her mother asked District 211 officials to allow her to use the girls’ locker room. She was very uncomfortable using the boys’ locker room.

For a while administrators said she could use the nurse’s office but that made Maday feel more isolated. Finally, administrators said she could use the girls’ locker room but she had to change behind a privacy wall, separating her from other students. She was allowed to freely use the girls’ restroom.

“It was just humiliating being completely separated from everybody,” she said.

School District 211, the largest in the state, issued a statement saying in par, “We will vigorously defend and protect compassionate, fair and equitable support for all students. And, at the same time, we continue to defend our supports for transgender students at the federal

Level. This is our commitment now and throughout whatever challenges are put before us, regardless of agenda or cause.”

“I just want people to know I'm just like them. Just like every other person,” Maday said.

Because we all know navigating teen years can be difficult for everyone.

“As a parent we all want our kids to be happy in their life,” Schweda said.