By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com April 02 2014 1:10 PM ET
A North Carolina transgender student claims she was humiliated by campus security after using the women's restroom.
Andraya Williams, 22, had just exited a women's restroom at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte when she was approached by a security guard. The guard allegedly asked Williams whether she was male or female, and after Williams displayed her student ID, the security officer called for backup.
Williams was escorted from the campus by approximately six security guards, suspended, and informed that she would only be allowed to return if she would agree to exclusively use the school's gender-neutral restrooms.
School spokesman Jeff Lowrance disputed Williams's claim, saying that she technically hadn't been suspended, adding in a statement to local NBC affiliate WCNC, "Central Piedmont, like many colleges and universities across the country, is beginning to recognize and understand the needs of transgender students. However, the college must balance these needs with those of the general student population."
Williams's attorney, Sarah Demarest, claimed that one of the school's deans issued a demand that Williams "bring in medical proof of being a female if she wanted to use the female restroom."
It's unclear in what ways the administration believes that allowing Williams to use a restroom corresponding to both her gender identity and expression infringes on the needs of other students. By all accounts, Williams did not take part in any form of unruly or illegal activity. Fear that allowing trans individuals to use the correct restroom will lead to a rise in bathroom assaults has been debunked many times over.
Williams says she attempted to address the issue with the school directly, discussing the matter with school's Office of Equal Opportunity director, Leon Matthews.
"After talking to the dean, I called the Office of Equal Opportunity and the director told me I have 'no rights legally,' because I am transgender and that if I file a complaint it could 'cost someone a job,'" Williams said in a statement published by QNotes.
For her part, Williams is asking that the school apologize for its actions, but is not ruling out the possibility of filing a civil complaint.
Watch WCNC's report below.