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Equality PA Thanks the Obama Admin. For Statement in Support of Transgender Students

Today the Obama Administration’s Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Justice (DOJ) signed a groundbreaking letter that was sent to public schools directing them to embrace transgender students by allowing them to participate fully and use the facilities that match the gender they live every day. Accompanying the letter is a 25-page guide of best practices to ensure all students, including transgender students, have a fair opportunity to succeed in school.

Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA said, “Transgender youth and all transgender people and their families deserve to be treated equally and to have safe and secure access to education. This guidance has the potential to save the lives of students who are far too often excluded from being able to be their authentic selves at school creating extraordinary barriers in their path to success. We extend our deepest thanks to the Obama Administration for boldly standing up for all students, including transgender students, at a time when certain politicians are spreading dangerous misinformation and fear-based messages about transgender people in order to advance a discriminatory agenda.”

According to a copy of the letter provided to the New York Times, it instructs, “A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.” Further, it states “As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.” In a 2013 agreement between the U.S. Justice Department and Arcadia school district in California the DOJ determined that the school had violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by denying a transgender boy access to facilities designated for boys. Since then, the DOJ has issued several directives to schools and colleges instructing them to follow the law. Recently, in light of anti-LGBT law HB2, the DOJ sued North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, the state Department of Public Safety, the University of North Carolina system, and its board of governors in a lawsuit claiming violations of Title VII.

Martin added, “This statement from the Obama administration would not have been possible without the tireless advocacy of countless courageous transgender youth and their families who, in the face of adversity, have been sharing their stories. We should all be inspired by their determination and continue to work toward making sure all our youth are safe, supported, and empowered to be their true selves.”




With 60,000 members across the commonwealth, Equality Pennsylvania is the leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.
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