The Obama administration has sent a letter to every public school district in the country telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity, as opposed to their birth certificate.
There is no obligation for a student to present a specific medical diagnosis or identification documents that reflect his or her gender identity, and equal access must be given to transgender students even in instances when it makes others uncomfortable, according to the directive.
The letter, which is signed by officials at the Justice Department and the Department of Education, was sent out Friday. A copy was posted on the Department of Justice’s website.
While the letter does not have the force of law, it does warn that schools that do not abide by the administration’s interpretation of civil rights law may face lawsuits or loss of federal aid.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
Officials say the letter is meant to clarify expectations of school districts that receive funding from the federal government. Educators have been seeking guidance on how to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding, Education Secretary John B. King said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department and the state of North Carolina filed dueling lawsuits over the state’s controversial “bathroom” law, with the Obama administration answering an early-morning lawsuit filed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory with legal action of its own.
The Obama administration threatened to pull federal education dollars from North Carolina if the state does not repeal a law prohibiting people from using public restrooms of the opposite sex.
Joseph Backholm, director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, said the Justice Department’s threat to cut education funds is a tactic fitting for a playground bully.
“Bullies gonna bully,” Mr. Backholm said. “The idea that the federal government is going to stop education for children because they let boys into the girls’ locker room while they’re undressing? The public will not stand for that.”
H/T: The Washington Times