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obama orders public schools to let trans students go to the bathroom

In the midst of a heated debate over North Carolina's anti-LGBT bathroom bill, the White House has issued a new set of guidelines aimed at protecting the civil liberties of trans students.

by Hannah Ongley
|
13 May 2016, 4:38pm

Earlier this week the White House became locked in a standoff with North Carolina over the state's anti-LGBT Bathroom Bill, which mandates that trans people can't use restroom facilities that align with their gender identity. Everyone from Loretta Lynch to Beyoncé has now weighed in on the dangerous edict. And while Obama won't cut funding to North Carolina until the bill has been dragged through the court system, that doesn't mean he's taking a light stance on the civil rights of transgender Americans. This morning the Department of Justice and Department of Education issued guidelines to public schools throughout the nation, telling them, "schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student's sex, including a student's transgender status." AKA, let trans kids pee in peace or have your funding cut. While the instructions do not have the force of law, the Obama administration's threat is pretty explicit.

"No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "This guidance further clarifies what we've said repeatedly — that gender identity is protected under Title IX. Educators want to do the right thing for students, and many have reached out to us for guidance on how to follow the law. We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence."

The guidelines also call for prompt and effective response to gender-based harassment and respect of privacy regarding the gender status of trans students. If the current heated debate around laws in North Carolina are anything to go by, you can expect the rules not to sit too well with Republican officials nor bigoted childhood acquaintances in your Facebook timeline. Shout out to the sitting president for wading through the hate and coming down on the right side of history. 

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Text Hannah Ongley

Tagged:
LGBT
Obama
equality
Transgender rights