Transgender Rights: The Bathroom Debate Continues

Protests fighting for the right of transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Last week, the Trump administration withdrew support for federal protection of transgender rights in public schools. This has brought up the issue of #BathroomBill all over again, debating whether students should use bathrooms based on the sex printed in their birth certificate or their own sense of gender identity.   Last May, the Obama administration sent a letter to all public schools that protected transgender rights based on Title IX, a federal law from 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in schools. The current administration argues that Title IX does not apply here and the federal government should not require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.   The decision has sparked protests outside the White House with chants such as, “No hate. No fear. Trans students are welcome here.”  While Trump is withdrawing federal guidance regarding transgender students and bathrooms, his letter leaves the decision up to individual states and local school districts. Some districts have reassured parents and local communities about their commitment to protecting the rights of transgender students.   There may also be hope for the protection of transgender civil rights with the upcoming Supreme Court case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., set for March 28. This is the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student in Virginia being denied access to the boy’s bathroom at his high school because he was born female. When designated a unisex bathroom to use, Gavin responded eloquently:  

“This idea that it's a unisex bathroom is an idea of a compromise. And I'm not looking for a compromise. I'm looking for my right. I'm looking for the ability to live my life like every other one of my peers is able to do. I'm not unisex. I'm a boy.”

You may have also heard of Gavin during this year’s GRAMMYs where Laverne Cox encouraged everyone to “Please Google Gavin Grimm” during her acceptance speech.  

  How can you be an ally for LGBTQ rights? What can you do in your school to protect equal rights for transgender students?   Join a community of peacemakers and create a project to address LGBTQ injustice today!