Obama Administration to Public Schools: Let Transgender Students Go to the Bathroom

The letter directs public schools to allow transgender students to go to the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Demonstrators protest the passage of North Carolina's bathroom restriction law. Skip Foreman/AP

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In a sweeping letter to be issued to school districts across the country on Friday, the Obama administration will direct public schools to allow transgender students to go to the bathrooms that match their gender identity, the New York Times reports.

“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,” according to an advance copy provided to the Times that will go out on Friday.

The notice comes in the middle of a contentious legal battle between the Justice Department and North Carolina over the state’s decision to restrict bathroom access according to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate. Administration officials have said the state law amounted to a violation of civil rights, and federal agencies were exploring whether the North Carolina law could result in the loss of billions in federal funding. 

Courts have yet to settle on whether national anti-discrimination laws apply to gender identity. A federal appeals court decision in Virginia last month sided with Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy who was born female and wanted to use the boy’s bathroom at his high school, noting that he had a right to sue and that a lower court should reconsider his request to use the boy’s bathroom.

You can read the letter below.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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