In an attempt to bring an end to the argument over the treatment of transgender people, the Obama administration has issued guidance directing all public schools in America to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.
In a joint letter from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice that was issued to schools across the country yesterday (Friday 13th May 2016) guidelines have been laid out to ensure that ‘transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment’.
This action has come in response to the growing hostilities towards the transgender population, especially towards transgender students. In the last few weeks alone more than fifty families in Illinois are suing over a transgender student being allowed access to the correct bathroom, and a school board in North Carolina voting to allow students to carry mace and pepper spray to use on transgender students in bathrooms.
The letter is an attempt to put an end to the open hostility towards transgender students and to put an end to the rampant discrimination that is putting the lives of innocent transgender individuals in danger.
The letter states, ‘When a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.
Whilst the letter does not carry the weight of the law behind it, it does send a clear message to those schools who choose not to listen, follow the new guidelines or face losing massive federal funding.
The Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, ‘These groundbreaking guidelines not only underscore the Obama administration’s position that discrimination against transgender students is flat-out against the law, but they provide public school districts with needed and specific guidance guaranteeing that transgender students should be using the facilities consistent with their gender identity.
‘This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender youth but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools.’
The Department of Education’s Catherine E. Lhamon said that ‘This guidance answers questions schools have been asking, with a goal to ensure that all students are treated equally consistent with their gender identity.’
— Gwendolyn Ann Smith (@gwenners) May 9, 2016
Despite the letter several organizations and individuals have already spoken out in protest over equal rights for transgender students.