WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education released on Friday guidelines for schools nationwide that outline that the Obama administration requires schools to allow students to use the restroom and locker room corresponding with their “gender identity” under threat of losing their federal funding.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a statement announcing the release of the guidelines. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”
The eight-page document outlines that the government interprets Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as applying to those who identify as transgender. The section, which prohibits educational institutions from discriminating against a person based on their gender, has generally been considered as applying to discrimination against women in treating females as inferior to males, including in sports programs.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” Title IX reads.
The Justice and Education Departments consequently outlined in the document released on Friday that schools must allow males who identify as females and vice versa to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity, or as the the document defined it, their “internal sense of gender.”
“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,” it reads. “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.”
“Under Title IX, there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity,” the Obama administration further outlines, stating that students and/or their parents must simply “assert a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records” to administrators in order to be granted access to their preferred facility.
The rules also apply to housing and participation in sports programs, although competitive fairness may be taken into account in relation to the student’s admission into an athletics program.
The departments state that failure to follow these guidelines could result in the loss of federal funding.
“As a condition of receiving federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations,” the document warns.
However, as previously reported, earlier this month over 50 families sued the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education for forcing a school district to allow a male student who identifies as female to use the girls’ locker room at his local high school.
“It’s a massive step backwards to force women to give up their inherent right to bodily privacy,” said Thomas More Society attorney Jocelyn Floyd in a statement. “To impose such a rule on still-developing teenage girls, as they’re already struggling with puberty’s changes on their bodies and social pressures to look a certain way, undermines their dignity and tells them that their rights don’t matter. This isn’t a message our schools should be sending to our girls.”