Story at a glance

  • A high school freshman is suing his school after he was suspended for telling another student there are “only two genders.”
  • The school found he had violated its policy on gender identity and pronouns, which states a student has the right to be identified by the name and pronoun of their choice.
  • The lawsuit was filed Nov. 4 by the Christian organization Cornerstone Action.

A New Hampshire high school student is suing his school district for reportedly suspending him from playing football after he said there are “only two genders.” His lawsuit also aims to prohibit the school from enforcing a policy related to gender-nonconforming students.

The Exeter High School freshman claims he received a one-game suspension from the school’s football team after he wrote text messages to another student off school grounds that he believes just two genders exist: male and female, the Portsmouth Herald reported.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 4 by the Christian organization Cornerstone Action, also alleges that the student’s First Amendment rights were violated by the school’s policy on gender identity and pronouns, which says students have the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun of their choice.


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The student, who has not been named, does not deny violating the school’s policy, and “in fact denied, and will continue to deny, that any person can belong to a gender other than that of ‘male’ or ‘female,’” according to the lawsuit, obtained by the Herald.

The suit further states that the student “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 briefly pulled from the football team after he reportedly told friends on the bus that he could not see how plural pronouns for an individual could be utilized by Spanish speakers when the language relies on masculine and feminine identifiers, according to the lawsuit.

A female student who overheard the conversation told the student there are more than two genders, to which he replied: “No there isn’t: there’s only two genders.” The female student later sent him a series of text messages pressing him on gender, according to the suit. The conversation grew “contentious,” and the student suing the school was suspended both for failing to recognize another student’s gender pronouns and using inappropriate language in his texts.

Exeter Superintendent David Ryan told the Herald he is aware of the lawsuit and the school is “in process of reviewing this complaint with legal counsel and will be able to share a statement once we have completed that review.”


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Published on Nov 16, 2021