The bathroom Alex McCray used during his sophomore year at Williamsville High School was small, dark, subject to extreme temperature fluctuations, and inconveniently located. Near the end of his junior year, he asked school administrators to allow him to use the boys' bathroom. McCray, who was born female, has identified as male for several years.
"I had started going to the school and just saying that I was uncomfortable using this restroom, and that's when I asked if I could switch over. And you know, I was told no, so I just sort of held it in for every day, all day,” he says. "Basically we had the same answer, that things were supposed to stay as they were. A lot of people didn't know how to handle it or what to do, so finally I just came to the conclusion that the only way to change it was to file a complaint."
Through the Illinois Department of Human Rights, McCray reached a settlement that includes access to the boys' bathroom and also establishes school support teams for other transgender students.
David Root, superintendent of Williamsville schools, endorsed the settlement and says the district's job is to provide a safe and welcoming place for all students. Root calls the agreement "the right thing to do."