Washington, D.C.– Transgender students in public schools have the right to use gender-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. That is the message that the Obama administration delivered to all public school districts today in a joint letter from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice. Specifically, 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.”
Public schools will now face the imminent threat of a federal lawsuit if they continue to deny the rights of trans students to equal access to restrooms and locker rooms. The directive is not legally binding, but because it is signed by both the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, it also carries with it the weight of public school financing.
Co-Executive Director of GSA Network Geoffrey Winder commented on the letter:
“We applaud President Obama’s administration on taking a step to affirm the rights of trans youth. With more than two dozen anti-trans bathroom bills introduced at the state level in just the first few months of 2016, this letter is critical to giving heart to the youth organizers who fight for these rights on a daily basis. Just last month, three GSA leaders in South Los Angeles fought and won a successful campaign for a multi-stall, gender-neutral restroom in their school. While GSA Network continues to support youth leaders in transforming their schools at the local level, we are heartened that the executive branch is stepping in to support the efforts coming from them and GSAs across the country.”
To read the entire letter issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, click here.
To read about the GSA Network youth activists who won a gender-neutral restroom in South Los Angeles, click here.
GSA Network is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains trans, queer, and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities. In California, GSA Network connects over 1,000 GSA clubs through regional summits and youth councils. Nationally, GSA Network leads the National Association of GSA Networks which unites 40 statewide networks of GSA clubs, and GSAs Unite, an online campaign and petition platform supporting youth organizers across the country.