(Source includes video interview)
Local school districts are responding to a federal recommendation that all students be allowed to use the restroom of the gender they most identify with. The recommendation comes from the White House, and the Education and Justice Departments.
It does not carry the force of law, but it does warn schools that the government could sue if they don’t comply – or cut off federal funds.
“Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the Untied States,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R-Texas).
The directive comes amid a legal fight between the Justice Department and North Carolina over that state’s law on bathroom use by transgender people. The state and the federal government sued each other on Monday.
Some Indiana schools are already taking steps to not discriminate against transgender students.
The guidelines are aimed at protecting the rights of transgender students and making the necessary accommodations. The guidelines require schools and universities to see a student’s gender as they see themselves, not as they are seen on a birth certificate. It means making changes in restrooms, locker rooms, athletics and other extracurricular activities.
Lo is a college student who can’t forget the fear of being in high school.
“I felt a constant state of fear. There were stares, pointing fingers, verbal harassment. Every day it was different, but there wasn’t a day I wasn’t scared. And in the rest rooms or locker rooms? Still scary,” said Lo.
Lo was ridiculed and pushed around in the bathrooms.
Ean, a college student, asked we not use his last name.
“I really wish this was around when I was in high school,” Ean said. When he began his transition, Ean said he had to give up sports and other extracurricular activities and was told to use a rest room too far away to use during class changes.
“The school said I couldn’t use a male’s rest room because they couldn’t guarantee my safety. I couldn’t use the female’s rest room,” he said.
IUPUI has already created 14 gender-neutral rest rooms.
Public schools we contacted don’t know how they will comply with these new guidelines until they see the letter from the president and get the actual details, although some are already making some accommodations.