ACLU encourages Gloucester schools to reject transgender bathroom policy

constitutionThe American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia sent a letter this week to the Gloucester County School Board urging it to reject a proposed policy that would limit school restrooms and locker rooms to “the corresponding biological genders” and would require transgender students either to use facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identity or use “an alternative private facility.”  The school board is scheduled to vote on the policy on December 9.

“There is broad medical consensus that transgender teenagers should live according to their gender identity in every possible respect, including using the appropriate bathrooms,” said ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg, one of the signatories to the letter.  “Forcing transgender students to use segregated facilities is intensely stigmatizing.”

The policy was proposed after officials at Gloucester County High School decided this fall to allow Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy, to use the boys’ restrooms.  This decision has not resulted in any disruption at the school, where students appear supportive of Gavin’s right to use restrooms that are consistent with his gender identity.

Gloucester High School is doing the right thing by treating Gavin like any other boy at the school.  The school board should not step in to undermine the supportive and welcoming environment that administrators, teachers, and students have created,” said Glenberg.

According to the ACLU letter, the proposed policy would violate Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits schools that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex.  Federal courts, as well as the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice, have recognized that discrimination based on gender identity violates Title IX.  Both DOE and DOJ have settled discrimination cases against school districts by requiring school districts to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that accord with their gender identity.

This week, in a guidance document on single-sex education, the DOE recognized that “[u]nder Title IX, a recipient generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.”

The ACLU letter to the Gloucester County School Board can be read here:  http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/141205-LtrToGloucester-County-Public-Schools.pdf