PALATINE, Illinois -- Nova Maday, 18, says she just wants to be treated like everyone else. She's a high school senior at Palatine High School in the Chicago suburbs. She loves music and photography. And she is transgender.
Nova 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 explained.
Maday was born a boy but identifies as a girl. She came out her freshman year and says everyone was "amazingly supportive."
Maday and her mom asked school officials if she could use the girl's locker room. That's where the problems began.
For a while, administrators said she could use the nurse's office, but that made Maday feel 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.
That's when Maday, and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit.
“It was just humiliating being completely separated from everybody,” Brenda Schweda, Maday's mom, said.
Nova's school district, District 211, is the largest in the state of Illinois. They issued a statement, saying in part, "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.”
Maday graduates this year and wants a policy put in place that doesn't segregate transgender students in any way.
District 211 has been down this road before. Two years ago, through legal action, the ACLU helped another transgender student gain access to the locker room.