A high school student in New Hampshire is suing the school district after he was suspended from the football team for insisting there are only two genders in private text messages. His lawsuit argues that the suspension was a violation of his first amendment rights.
The suit states that the freshman at Exeter High School was suspended from the football team for one game after the administration obtained a text conversation, outside of school grounds, that he had with another student over gender identity. The suit, filed on the student’s behalf by Christian-based organization Cornerstone Action, argues that he stated his Catholic-based belief that there are only two genders.
The lawsuit further argues that the school’s non-binary gender identity policy is an infringement of the student’s First Amendment rights.
The policy states the school’s community should respect student’s preferred name and pronoun related to their gender identity. Failure to respect others’ gender identities is a violation of the policy.
The student does not deny violating the policy.
“He in fact denied, and will continue to deny, that any person can belong to a gender other than that of ‘male’ or ‘female’” the lawsuit says.
The student, it goes on, “will never refer to any individual person using plural pronouns such as ‘they,’ using contrived pronouns such as ‘ze,’ or with any similar terminology that reflects values which (the student) does not share.”
The student was on the bus having a conversation with his friends about gender and the challenges of using the plural pronouns for an individual in the Spanish language. Unlike English, Spanish has different pronouns for male and female plurals. A female student overheard the conversation and insisted to the group that there are more than two genders.
The student replied: “No there isn’t. There’s only two genders.”
The conversation went on in a “contentious” text exchange that was shared with the school’s administration and shown to the student before he was suspended.