Transgender Bathroom Policy on Hold After Court Objection

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Transgender Bathroom Policy on Hold After Court Objection

Mario Melendez

Mario Melendez

Mario Melendez

Bianca Barretto, Staff Writer

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Transgender bathroom rights have become one of the issues of 2016, stirring up controversy from schools all over the nation. Federal Judge, Reed O’Connor, sided with Texas and twelve other states to withhold Obama’s transgender bathroom policy, on August 21st.

In mid May, Obama publicized a new federal mandate, stating that transgender students should be able to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender they identify as. Soon after, the U.S. Department of Education provided schools with guidelines, so that they would not discriminate on the basis of gender identity.

Judge, Reed O’Connor, objected and claimed that the federal government abused their power under the 1972 law, banning sex discrimination in schools and that the new policy would interfere with the students’ safety and privacy. O’Connor was also concerned about whether parents would transfer their children out of schools in Texas once they had found out about the policy.

O’Connor wrote “this case presents the difficult issue of students rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school” in his ruling according to Ktla.com.

As stated by Reuters.com, the Obama Administration’s transgender bathroom policy was put on hold due to the fact that O’Connor, and the twelve other states who sued, felt that the federal government did not accomplish to notify the states about the mandate with enough time to review the guidelines. So many state courts have objected, that this case will potentially be sent to Supreme Court for a definitive solution. Unfortunately this means that transgender, gender fluid, and non binary students will not yet received a conclusive answer to whether they can decide which bathrooms they would like to use. This withhold is affecting schools all over the country at an increasing rate. More open members of the LGBT community are being demeaned in the education system because they are not being granted their basic rights. Luckily, advisors at Rancho are very supportive of trans students who currently attend this school, and those who will attend in the future.

“They [transgender students] should be able to use whatever bathroom they feel more comfortable with,” said ALGPS history teacher, Mr. Gillespie. Rancho is full of diverse students, meaning that identity fluctuates from person to person to person.

“It’s about people’s personal freedom,” Gillespie continued, “People have the right to identify the way they want to and I don’t know why we wouldn’t allow them to the space they feel they’re safest.”

Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network claims that 74% of transgender students report sexual harassment at school based on their gender identity and 28% of LGBT youth also drop out of school because of constant harassment. Mr. Casillas, GSA science teacher, also agreed that transgender students should use bathrooms that coordinate with the gender they are comfortable with.

“I support it [trans peers using preferred bathrooms], but I think there would be a backlash with parents because they would be opposed to the idea, but it is 2016 and people need to evolve”

Both Mr. Gillespie and Mr. Casillas agree that not allowing transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice will only lead to negative effects for the students at Rancho. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon enough so students can finally have a safe environment for their education.