President Obama takes a stand for transgender students.
In a victory for human rights, the Obama administration issued a sweeping directive on Friday telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
In a letter sent to every public school district in America the administration warns school districts that they should allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, or risk losing federal funding.
A copy of the letter provided to the New York Times reads in part:
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.
(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. 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.
In a statement accompanying the directive, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said:
There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex.
The directive is in response to Republican lawmakers, encouraged by conservative Christians, who continue to try and harass and intimidate the transgender community with mean-spirited and hopelessly misguided bathroom laws.
Currently a new North Carolina law that unfairly bans transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity is receiving a great deal of negative attention as celebrities as diverse as Charles Barkley and Bruce Springsteen have come out to denounce the draconian new law.
Fueled by irrational fear, the transgender bathroom hysteria currently sweeping the Bible belt is but a thinly veiled expression of Christian bigotry and hatred towards the transgender community.
The Obama administration deserves a great deal of credit for standing up to the Christian bullies, and protecting transgender students. The gnashing of teeth and cries of persecution have already begun.
Bottom line: Obama is right. Transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.