DemDaily: Transgender

May 13, 2016

President Obama sent a clear signal today that he has no intentions of staying on the sidelines in the final months of his Presidential
term.

In a joint letter issued by the Departments of Justice and Education, the administration outlined strongly-worded guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.
 
The move stems from a legal standoff between the administration and North Carolina over the state's controversial State House Bill 2.  Known as the "Bathroom Bill," the legislation bans individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex. It also stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.

 

The Department of Justice has declared a counter suit against the University of North Carolina and the state of North Carolina -- which is one of ten states with similar pending legislation.  Comparable legislation in an additional five states failed or was vetoed.
Conservatives were quick to react, including Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who called it "the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools."
The letter, which was supplemented by a set of recommended policies and practices, provides "administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school     policies."
 
The decision is based on the Obama administration's interpretation of Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law in education. While there is currently no legal enforcement mechanism, the letter sends a clear message to those who don't comply - fall in line or face loss of federal funding.
Obama's actions are a major strike against discrimination and a victory for the transgender community. And to that we say congratulations.
 
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