The Education Department confirmed earlier this month that complaints from transgender students prohibited from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity are no longer of their concern. In other words, transgender youth will now have to use the bathroom that matches their born gender, not the one that they identify with.
According to students, this can lead to bullying and possibly violence.
Under the Obama Administration, beginning in 2016 transgender students were allowed to use the bathroom that they identified with, which didn’t necessarily correspond to their born gender. The rationale being that prohibiting transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice would fall under sex discrimination covered by Title IX.
Although some view this as straying from America’s “traditional values”, we need to question what is more important: sticking to these so-called values or protecting the well-being of transgender youth.
That being said, it has not been uncommon that women often use the men’s restroom at concerts and bars due to the long line in women’s restrooms. Men never had an issue with it then, why is it such a big issue now? At the end of the day, how would you feel if you were forced to do something that made you uncomfortable or unsafe every single day?
When Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos came out earlier last year stating that the use of bathrooms for transgender students was not a form of sex discrimination covered by Title IX, several civil rights groups warned that this would put the safety of transgender students at risk.
Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told the Washington Post “Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
Although Betsy DeVos later came out with a statement stating “All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment,” many advocates worry that without clear policies to public schools, they will not know what to do regarding transgender students in public restrooms.