Seamus Johnston sues Pittsburgh University after being expelled for being transgender
Former UPitt honor student Seamus Johnston has filled a lawsuit (embedded below) claiming the school arrested and subsequently expelled him on the basis of gender expression resulting in the deprivation of his rights guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment.
Seamus (pronounced Shame-us) was participating in a campus for credit weight training class and had used the men's locker room during October and November uneventfully. But after the student news paper published a article titled "Transgender student claims discrimination" that the school served him with the first of many citations for disorderly conduct.
That was just the beginning of the retaliation Seamus would endure.
Mr. Johnston was disciplined in the form of expulsion following two times where he was observed using men's restrooms. He was expelled ostensibly because he used men's facilities while having a female sex designation on his student records even though his drivers license indicated he was male. He would not have been subject to discipline if UPJ had not refused to correct the sex designation on his student records.
On December 2, 2011, the UPJ Campus Police filed a criminal complaint, charging Mr. Johnston with violations of 18Pa.C.S.A. § 3127(a) – Indecent Exposure (M2), 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3503(b)(1)(i)– Criminal Trespass (M3), and 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5503(a)(1) – Disorderly Conduct (M3).
On January 20, 2012, Mr. Johnston presented his story of discrimination at a meeting of the University Senate Anti-Discriminatory Policies Committee (“ADPC”) in Pittsburgh.
On February 21, 2012, the ADPC unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the University nondiscrimination policy should operate according to the sex with which the person identifies now, not their natal sex, noting that birth-certificate verification might be in violation of the University's Non-Discrimination Policy and city ordinances,and that this should apply to all regional campuses.
Shortly afterwards an anonymous representative from UPITT administration informed the ADPC and others for the first time that the school would only accept a birth certificate or court order as proof of gender.
You can follow Seamus's case on Facebook and Twitter @sspjohnston.
All of this litigation takes courage and money so Seamus has started a crowd source funding campaign.