The Obama administration yesterday recommended that all public school districts in the entire country allow transgender students to use whatever bathroom and locker-room that matches their gender identity. In the letter sent to all school districts in the US, transgender students should be allowed to use wherever they want without been asked for documentation to prove their preferred sexuality or medical diagnosis.
In a letter outlining guidance for schools that were sent out yesterday, the administration said as a condition of receiving federal funds, “a school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
The letter says the school should not require any medical diagnosis, nor should they demand documentation reflecting the student’s gender identity before taking steps to protect transgender students, “even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections.”
Adding that while schools are permitted to offer single-use restrooms to students who want “additional privacy,” they should not require transgender students to use single-use facilities if their classmates are not required to do the same.
The letter was signed by officials from the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education.
Alongside the letter to school districts, officials will distribute a list of “emerging practices,” advice for how to deal with a number of issues, from ensuring faculty uses the student’s preferred pronoun to preventing staff from inadvertently disclosing a student’s status as transgender.
The best practices document also gives guidance on how schools can “protect the privacy rights of all students,” holding up a suggestion from Washington state that recommends offering “students who may feel uncomfortable sharing the facility with the transgender student(s)” the option to use a separate single-occupant restroom.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin called the directive ‘groundbreaking’. He said in a statement:
“This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender young people but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools,”