Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) April 21, 2017 - When the Trump administration rescinded federal protections for transgender children to use the school bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus responded by stating that California law continues to protect transgender children’s rights. Under state law, transgender students have the right to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.
In 2016, Barack Obama issued a federal law that protected transgender students, whose gender identity does not match the physical sex of their birth, by issuing guidance to schools to ensure they are in a safe environment. The law protected their rights to participate in sports, have free choice of dress, use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity and use the gender pronoun of their choice. According to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Obama administration stated that schools receiving federal funding may not discriminate against students for their sex, including their gender identity.
However, several states disagreed with the Title IX interpretation, arguing that the guidance violates privacy protections of the students who share bathrooms with transgender students. Some of these states filed federal lawsuits in response to the Obama administration’s guidance, including Texas, which placed a hold on the guidance while the lawsuits progressed.
In February 2017, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the guidance, arguing that federal law should offer due regard to state and local school districts to establish educational policies.
“The federal government has a duty to uphold and advance students’ safety, dignity, and basic rights. DeVos and Sessions are failing our students and, even worse, sending the message that students shouldn’t have the right to be who they are,” says Betsy Havens, Executive Director of Strong Advocates located in Los Angeles, California.
However, California legislation has protected transgender children’s rights since 2013 when Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1266. The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus stated that, regardless of any signs that the Trump administration is not an ally to the LGBTQ community, California will continue to protect their civil rights.
They also stated that it is especially important to offer support to LGBTQ youth, as they experience high rates of bullying, and transgender youth experience high rates of depression. The Caucus is committed to offering support to students who have been discriminated against, and ensuring that schools have the guidance necessary to protect their students’ civil rights.
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