Report: Obama to Warn Every School District in America Not to Violate Trans Bathroom Rights
The Obama administration plans to send a “sweeping decree” on Friday instructing every school district in the country to let trans students use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, The New York Times reports.
“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so,” reads the directive signed by the Justice Department and the Department of Education, according to the Times.
The letter will not have the force of law, but carries the implicit threat of litigation or withheld federal funds if schools violate trans students’ rights. From the Times:
A school’s obligation under federal law “to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns,” the letter states. “As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”
As soon as a child’s parent or legal guardian asserts a gender identity for the student that “differs from previous representations or records,” the letter says, the child is to be treated accordingly — without any requirement for a medical diagnosis or birth certificate to be produced. It says that schools may — but are not required to — provide other restroom and locker room options to students who seek “additional privacy” for whatever reason.
This week, the Justice Department and North Carolina filed opposing lawsuits over the state’s anti-LGBT bathroom bill, which the Obama administration says violates the Civil Rights Act’s Title IX provision.
On Thursday, the White House announced it would not withhold federal funds from North Carolina until the court battle was over.