Federal Judge Halts Nationwide Protections for Transgender Students

Trans flagNew York, NY – Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund responded to news that U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas had issued an injunction against a federal directive protecting transgender students in schools across the nation. In May, the U.S. Education and Justice Departments sent a letter and guidance to every school district in the U.S. reminding them of their obligations under Title IX to protect transgender students from discrimination, which includes ensuring that students can use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

Yesterday Judge O’Connor granted the injunction sought by 13 states and agencies that are suing the Obama administration over the schools directive and challenging the Obama Administration’s interpretation of Title IX. 

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss:

“This decision is harmful to transgender students who just want the same opportunity as all students to be treated fairly and to thrive in their school environments. Halting this vital directive will contribute to putting trans students at risk for discrimination, even as they already face significant rates of harassment and bullying in schools, just for being who they are. While the decision does not apply to states that explicitly authorize schools to define sex to include gender identity for purposes of restroom and dressing facilities, it leaves students in many other states in legal limbo. The court has overstepped its bounds in determining that the federal agency empowered to interpret the law, using its expertise in understanding school issues among our youth, may not do so simply because a judge disagrees with their interpretation.” 

“As the Obama Administration directive made clear, transgender students may not be singled out for discrimination and must be treated equally in school. The federal government, like the vast majority of Americans, stands on the side of fairness, justice and equal treatment for all Americans. This recent injunction against transgender student protections stands in stark contrast to equality and we believe it will be overturned on appeal.”

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