HRC responded to a federal court decision reaffirming that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects transgender students from discrimination including being forced to use separate bathroom facilities.
“No student should feel unsafe at school, regardless of gender identity. Transgender students are covered by Title IX and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director. “With the Trump-Pence administration’s barrage of attacks on LGBTQ people in this country, including children, we are pleased that yet another federal court has reaffirmed legal rights and dignity of transgender people.”
In 2014, the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia voted 6-1 in favor of a discriminatory bathroom policy that segregates transgender students from their peers after Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, began using the boys restroom, with permission of school officials, that correspond with his gender identity.
In 2017, the Supreme Court sent the Grimm case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals following the Trump Administration's decision to rescind protective school guidance for transgender students. Because the Fourth Circuit's original ruling was heavily based on the Obama Administration's guidance, the Supreme Court asked the lower court to revisit the case and rule on the underlying statutory question regarding the scope of Title IX. Many federal courts, including the court today, have affirmed that Title IX and other federal nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination against transgender people including with respect to restroom access.
This decision reaffirms a 2016 ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that held "a policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX."