WASHINGTON — The Obama administration published a notice on Thursday declaring that federal buildings must allow men that identify as women and vice versa to use the restroom that correlates with their “gender identity.”
“Federal agencies occupying space under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of GSA must allow individuals to use restroom facilities and related areas consistent with their gender identity,” the General Services Administration (GSA) wrote in the Federal Register.
The rule applies to the 9,000 facilities under the control of the GSA in 2,000 cities across the nation, such as federal courthouses, Veterans Administration offices and Social Security departments.
The administration says that it instituted the regulation to clarify that non-discrimination rules apply to transgenders. It came to the conclusion based on the interpretations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1973 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and other federal entities.
The GSA outlined in its notice that an individual does not need to undergo a sex change operation to be permitted to use their preferred restroom.
“As consistent with guidance by DOJ and ED, the self-identification of gender identity by any individual is sufficient to establish which restroom or other single-sex facilities should be used,” it explained.
“As noted by ED, EEOC, DOJ and OPM, transgender individuals do not have to be undergoing or have completed any medical procedure, nor can they be required to show proof of surgery to be treated in accordance with their gender identity and obtain access to the restroom corresponding with their gender identity.”
GSA also outlined that those who identify as the opposite sex cannot be required to use private restrooms as opposed to multiple-stall facilities.
“Further, federal agencies may not restrict only transgender individuals to only use single-occupancy restrooms, such as family or accessible facilities open to all genders,” the administration said. “However, federal agencies may make individual-user options available to all individuals who voluntarily seek additional privacy.”
As previously reported, over 20 states have sued the Obama administration over its recently released guidelines requiring schools to accommodate students’ “gender identity” under threat of losing their federal funding.
“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 May directive from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice read. “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.”
“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,” it warned.
The states believe that the departments wrongfully sidestepped Congress in issuing the directive, and assert that the Obama administration is misinterpreting Title IX, which does not mention “gender identity,” but rather only “sex.”
“Neither the text nor the legislative history of Title IX supports an interpretation of the term ‘sex’ as meaning anything other than one’s sex as determined by anatomy and genetics,” one of the joint lawsuits reads.