HRC Blog

Student Successfully Changes Transgender Policy at University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

This post comes from HRC Youth & Campus Intern Charles Girard:

One student successfully changed the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith’s policies regarding bathroom use for transgender people.  Jennifer Braly began transitioning to live as female by legally changing her name and gender.  She then began occasionally using the women’s restroom on campus. 

Soon, Braly spoke about gender identity to a few psychology classes. It was at this point that a student who heard Braly speak protested to school administrators about having to use the same bathroom as a transgender woman.  Shortly after, the university asked Braly to use only gender-neutral bathrooms for the comfort of other students. Luckily, Braly did not stand for this.

Braly refused to only use gender-neutral bathrooms on campus because many of the buildings where she takes classes lack those facilities. She filed a complaint with the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, and the office then contacted the school’s legal team.  The university reversed their decision and Braly is now free to use women’s restrooms on campus.

The Department of Justice’s statement correlates with the recommendation that HRC suggests for restroom access for transgender people.  Transgender people need access to bathrooms that “correspond with their full-time gender presentation” and gender-neutral or single stall bathrooms are an acceptable temporary solution but not a permanent one.

We applaud Braly for standing up for transgender people across the country.

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