After proposals to restrict restroom use by transgender public school students were introduced in several states this year, LGBT advocates argued such a statute would run afoul of federal law.
Thankfully, none of the proposals — some of which would have placed bounties on the heads of trans students — passed. And this week, the U.S. Department of Justice affirmed LGBT advocates’ position in a filing that says Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination, requires schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms according to their gender identity.
The DOJ filing comes in the case of 16-year-old Gavin Grimm (above), who is transgender and sued the school board in rural Gloucester County, Virginia, for the right to use the boys’ restroom. Grimm had used the boys’ restroom until pressure from parents prompted the school board to require him to use an “alternative” restroom in December.
The Washington Post reports:
In a statement of interest filed Tuesday, the Justice Department argues that the Gloucester County school board’s policy violates Grimm’s rights, and federal officials are seeking to ensure that “all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination.” …
“Singling out transgender students and subjecting them to differential treatment can also make them more vulnerable to bullying and harassment, a problem that transgender students already face,” according to the Justice document. The filing also cites figures showing that more than 90 percent of LGBT students in middle school and high school reported being verbally harassed and about half said they were attacked physically.