Transgender teen students received a victory from the Department of Justice on Wednesday when the DOJ joined with the Department of Education in stating that a transgender California student, anatomically female but living as a male could use bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities designated for boys.
The news, first reported by Politico, pertained directly to the Arcadia Unified School District but had broader implications as to the way transgendered LGBT students are to be treated, attorney Asaf Orr said.
“This sends a clear message to school districts around the country saying ‘This is what the federal government is going to be expecting of you,’” said Orr, a staff attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
(Orr was also the attorney, who filed the case on behalf of the rising ninth-grade student, who did not wish to be identified.)
The decision is definitely a first for the DOJ, which has directed the Arcadia school district outside Los Angeles to alter its district policies and practices for the student. It also obligates teachers and staff to attend training on how to prevent gender discrimination, and federal agencies will be monitoring the district through at least 2016, the Politico report stated.
While the announcement was the first for the DOJ specifically related to transgender rights, it has been proceeded by several state-driven efforts throughout the US, including a transgender rights bill, which was passed by California lawmakers earlier this month, and this one in Colorado that ruled in favor of a 6-year-old transgender child using public facilities for his gender of choice.
In other words, this ruling actually has federal weight behind it and could set the tone for how transgender students are treated in other states without LGBT friendly policies regardless of opposition.
As for the transgender teen that this case is about, the complaint was less about bullying and more about accommodation, noted The Advocate. School officials had been responsive in the past with bullying complaints, but the website noted that the transgender teen had not been allowed to use boys’ facilities. Instead, he was offered the school nurse’s bathroom.
The DOJ ruling will also enable the student to participate in boys’ sports.
Do you think the ruling in favor of the transgender teen will change how LGBT students are treated throughout the country? And do you think it’s a good idea to allow anatomically female transgender students into a boys’ locker room?
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