WASHINGTON - High school is a difficult time for most students and being transgender adds another layer of stress. Now, a major battle is brewing in Fairfax County Public Schools about how best to protect students in both the LGBT community and without taking away rights of the rest of the student body.
In May, the Fairfax County School Board voted to include "gender identity" as a protected group to its Non-Discrimination Policy. The policy change would allow those who have not yet legally transitioned to the opposite sex to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender with which they identify, among other things.
But a lawsuit brought forth by Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition along with an unnamed student and his parents is aiming to stop the policy from being executed.
"I am a transman who just loves life," said Kayden Ortiz.
Ortiz was born as a girl named Satya, but he said he has known for years that he wanted to be a boy. He is now legally a male as he has undergone a double mastectomy and has taken testosterone since last October.
He is a high school senior in the Fairfax County School district.
FOX 5 sat down with Kayden and his mother to discuss the lawsuit aimed at removing "gender identity" as special protected group.
"I do feel angry," said Kayden. "I try and see the other perspective because I was always taught that by my parents. But at times, it's very difficult for me to see that."
And no matter what the policy ultimately is, Kayden wishes for one thing.
"The ideal solution is that everyone understood what it means to be transgender and was accepting of it," he said.
The crux of the lawsuit focuses on the fact that school boards cannot expand the definition of protected classes. It must be done by the General Assembly. In essence, it is saying that the school board has no right to add "gender identity" as new protected class to its Non-Discrimination Policy.
We reached out to Lafferty, who is leading the lawsuit. She was unavailable for comment due to illness.
Kayden and his mother have invited Lafferty to sit down with them to further discuss the issue.