Obama administration to issue guidance on transgender access to school bathrooms

Fri. May 13, 2016 7:22 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

Chicago, IL - The Obama administration is expected to issue guidance on Friday directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

A joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice will be issued to the nation's school districts confirming that discriminating against transgender students is illegal under Title IX.

Schools that discriminate against trans students—including schools that exclude transgender students from restrooms consistent with their gender—are violating federal law, putting their federal funding at risk. The Department of Education's interpretation of Title IX overrides state laws like North Carolina's HB 2, which require schools to force transgender students into bathrooms that don't match their gender.

In response to this groundbreaking letter, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Executive Director Mara Keisling said:

"We've seen over and over that transgender students who are included and respected can thrive at school. But this year, some legislators and anti-trans extremists have been encouraging schools to deny transgender students basic educational opportunities by preying on baseless fears and cooking up confusion about what federal law requires. That's why transgender young people, their families, and their schools have so desperately needed this guidance from the federal government. We're thrilled that Secretary John King and the Obama Administration have finally taken action to protect transgender students all over the nation."

Policies that treat transgender students equally, including when it comes to restroom access, have been successfully tried and tested for years in thousands of schools around the country.

The letter and accompanying guidance is expected to not only cover access to facilities, but also issues such as dress codes and confidentiality. NCTE said the Department of Education's policy letter will be critical to protect the rights of all transgender students. 

This story is still developing, check back for updates. 

Related: 75% of Americans support transgender rights; majority oppose House Bill 2


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