Get Email Updates

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently issued a notice to public schools across the nation indicating that Title IX guidelines include allowing transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Now, Georgia is one of ten states and three governors suing the federal government over these guidelines.

Understandably, there’s some confusion and concern over what the guidelines do and don’t do. We separate fact from fiction.

Myth:

The ED guidelines are federal overreach.

Fact:

The ED and Department of Justice (DOJ) routinely provide guidance to states on issues under federal law. There’s substantial legal precedent for this recent guidance. The ED’s notice provides pointers for public schools on how they can ensure they are compliant with Title IX and better ensure all students, including those who are transgender, can learn and succeed in school without fear of bullying, harassment or isolation.

Myth:

The ED has no grounds to restrict federal funds under these new guidelines.

Fact:

The ED first announced in 2014 that Title IX sex non-discrimination protections cover transgender students. Last month, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this interpretation and ruled in favor of Virginia transgender teenager Gavin Grimm, declaring that his local school board must allow him to use the restroom that matches his gender identity. States that willingly violate Title IX regulations risk losing their federal education funding. Georgia is slated to receive $2+ billion in federal aid this year.

Myth:

The ED guidelines are untested.

Fact:

Across the nation, 17 states, Washington D.C., and more than 200 cities and towns have passed non-discrimination laws protecting gender identity in public spaces, including restrooms and locker rooms. Nearly two dozen K-12 school districts and four universities, which collectively serve 1.5 million students, have implemented non-discrimination policies as modeled by the recent ED guidance. There has not been a single report of someone’s privacy or safety being endangered under these policies.

Myth:

These guidelines would allow men to invade women's spaces, leaving young girls vulnerable to harm.

Fact:

That's not how gender identity works. Transgender boys are boys. Transgender girls are girls. They belong in the restrooms that match the gender they live everyday. It is illegal and will remain illegal for ANYONE to enter a public restroom or locker room to harass or intimidate someone else.

Myth:

The ED guidelines would require schools to remodel their restrooms to be gender neutral or add restrooms or other sex-segregated facilities.

Fact:

There’s nothing in this guidance that challenges gender-specific restrooms. All it does is provide guidance about how to integrate transgender students into the existent system in a non-discriminatory way.

Myth:

Transgender people will violate modesty norms in restrooms and locker rooms.

Fact:

Transgender people are as modest as anyone else – maybe even more so. They have every reason to avoid drawing attention to their differences, because they are disproportionately victims of violence and harassment. According to a 2009 GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) survey, 9 in 10 transgender students are verbally harassed at school due to their gender identity and more than half have been physically assaulted. Transgender students, like all students, just want to use the restroom in privacy.

Myth:

Allowing transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity gives them special privileges.

Fact:

According to GLSEN’s 2013 National School Climate Survey:

  • Nearly 60 percent of transgender students have been forced to use a restroom or locker room inconsistent with their gender identity. This is discrimination.
  • More than 63 percent of transgender students avoid using the restroom because of fears of harassment or assault. This can lead to physical health problems that hamper a student's ability to learn.
  • More than 75 percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school.

Transgender students should not have to avoid the restroom for fear of their safety. The ED guidelines are about ensuring an environment that allows transgender students to participate equally and succeed at school.

Twitter Icon@GeorgiaUnites

.@GovernorDeal & House leadership blast Senate for muddying HB159, urges the chamber to pass a clean bill: on-ajc.com/2n20ara #LGBT

About 39 minutes ago

Follow Us On Twitter