Federal Officials Affirm Respect for Transgender Students in Public Schools

By Adam Polaski • May 13, 2016 • 10:18 am
Today the Obama administration is capping a week of momentum for transgender equality with a letter from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education (DOE) directing all public schools across the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The letter comes as the administration increasingly vocalizes its position that Title VII and Title IX protections extend to transgender Americans.

The letter reads:

In recent years, we have received an increasing number of questions from parents, teachers, principals, and school superintendents about civil rights protections for transgender students. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its implementing regulations prohibit sex discrimination in educational programs and activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance.1 This prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.

Kasey Suffredini, Chief Programs Officer for Freedom for All Americans and Director of our Transgender Freedom Project, said today:

“Federal officials are continuing to send a clear message to transgender youth that they have their backs, and that is an incredibly important and powerful message – particularly right now. Lawmakers in states like North Carolina have singled out transgender people simply for being who they are. Time and again we’ve seen lawmakers push harmful, discriminatory bills without any regard for the human lives they impact. It’s refreshing that federal officials are committed to recognizing, respecting and protecting the transgender community – particularly during this volatile time when so many state leaders are doing exactly the opposite.”

Earlier this week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Department of Justice was filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina over HB 2. In her remarks, Attorney General Lynch noted: “Instead of turning away from our neighbors, friends and colleagues, let us instead learn from our history…state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good and never works in hindsight.”

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that a Virginia school board’s move to ban a transgender student from using public restrooms that match his gender identity violated Title IX. The Fourth Circuit also covers North Carolina.

You can take action today by saying THANK YOU to federal officials for taking a stand for transgender youth today by clicking here and signing our Thank You card.

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