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Quarles & Brady Madison Attorneys Help Clients Win Wisconsin Supreme Court Transgender Case

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Adam Prinsen and Emily Feinstein, members of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice Group in the Quarles & Brady Madison office, recently secured a victory for their clients in a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision regarding a school district policy about the ability of students to self-select their names and pronouns without parental input.

In Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District et al, the Wisconsin Supreme Court chose not to block the district’s “Guidance & Policies to Support Transgender, Non-binary & Gender-Expansive Students.” A group of 14 anonymous Madison parents filed suit against the district in February 2020. They argued the district's policy could infringe on their constitutional rights as parents to raise their children as they deem appropriate. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a Circuit Court ruling that denied the plaintiffs’ request to litigate the case anonymously.

Prinsen and Feinstein, along with the ACLU as co-counsel, represented the defendant-intervenors, Gender Equity Association of James Madison Memorial High School, Gender Sexuality Alliance of Madison West High School and Gender Sexuality Alliance of Robert M. La Follette High School.

In an excerpt from a Law.com story about the decision, Prinsen addressed the significance of the case:

Keeping the school district’s policy in place will provide a safer and more welcoming space for all transgender, non-binary and other gender-expansive students, said one of the defendant’s attorneys, Adam Prinsen, of Quarles & Brady in Madison, Wisconsin.

“While gender exploration would ideally involve caregivers in the process, not all youth are fortunate enough to have such parental or guardian support,” Prinsen told Law.com. “Some may feel that school is their only safe haven. The district’s guidance allows them to express themselves without fear of being outed against their will.”

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