Obama tells schools to allow transgender bathroom access842 views
WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama‘s administration fired the latest salvo on Friday in a heated battle over the rights of transgender Americans, telling schools they must allow students to use bathrooms of their choosing.
In a letter to school districts and universities, officials from the Justice and Education Departments outlined how to prevent discrimination against transgender students and what Attorney-General Loretta Lynch described as “unjust” school policies.
Although the letter is not binding, schools that disagree with the administration’s interpretation – allowing transgender students to use either the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity or the one on their birth certificate – could potentially face lawsuits or reduced federal aid.
The guidance comes as the federal government is embroiled in a pitched legal battle in North Carolina – with both the state and the administration filing duelling lawsuits – over the state’s law requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate.
The battle comes amid a wider debate on equal rights in the United States, where a flurry of initiatives have targeted the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) communities since a historic Supreme Court decision last year legalised same-sex marriage nationwide.
The administration insists that gender identity is protected under Title IX, a provision under the Education Amendments of 1972 that bars schools receiving federal funding from discriminating based on a student’s sex.
Under the guidance, schools must “take prompt and effective steps” to end, prevent and remedy sex-based harassment based on a student’s actual or perceived gender identity, transgender status or gender transition.
Schools are also asked to treat students “consistent with their gender identity,” allow them to participate in sex-segregated activities and access sex-segregated facilities in line with their gender identity, as well as protect their privacy as concerns their transgender status.
News Source StratisTimes