Obama administration directs all U.S. public schools to allow transgender students access to the bathroom of their choice


Students are now allowed access to the bathrooms and locker rooms coinciding with their gender identities, rather than the sex identified on their birth certificates, the Obama Administration declared on May 12, 2016.

While there are no legal consequences stated in the letter, it warns that school districts who do not follow this initiative could be faced with lawsuits and loss of federal aid as a result of not abiding by civil rights law.

According to the New York Times, “As soon as a child’s parent or legal guardian asserts a gender identity for the student that ‘differs from previous representations or records,’ the letter says, the child is to be treated accordingly.”

As mentioned by Fox News, the directive is a result of the on-going debate: do transgender persons have the right to utilize the bathroom of their choice? The directive overpowers the HB2 bill recently passed by the North Carolina Justice Center, which states that everyone must use the bathroom that matches with their biological sex.

However, the Justice Department and North Carolina sued each other just earlier this week, on account of disagreement over this same bill.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the person who filed the suit against the Department of Justice, stated his opinion on the matter, declaring how the bill rewrites “long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress.”

Similarly, Staples student Harrison King ’16 has been more concerned with the constitutionality of the matter, rather than the issue itself.

“Although I don’t agree entirely with president Obama’s order, as it crosses the boundary between federal government and state, I do believe that we need to be more accepting of each other,” King said. “I do support that transgenders should be able to choose the bathroom of their choice, but it shouldn’t be issued at federal level.”

In addition, other members of the Republican Party have scoffed at the bill. According to CNN, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick deemed the bill as “blackmail.” “The families in America will not accept it,” Patrick said in a news conference.

Overall, the bill has received praise from the LGBT community, with members claiming it successful and proving the validation of transgender rights.

“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” Education Secretary John B. King said. “We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they… get a great education in an environment free from discrimination.”