The Department of Education will no longer consider complaints by transgender students of unequal restroom access as part of their jurisdiction, according to a statement by their spokesperson published Monday.
Here’s what they said
Buzzfeed reported that Department of Education spokesperson Liz Hill said that they do not consider transgender complaints as falling under the Title IX federal civil rights law.
“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Hill said.
“Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX,” Hill added, explaining that bathroom complaints are different from general discrimination.
“In the case of bathrooms, however,” she said, “long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
Obama education official’s counterargument
Buzzfeed sought out the contrary opinion from a former Obama administration official, Catherine Lhamon, the head of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.
“Until now, the official position of the Department has been that Title IX protects all students and that they were evaluating how that protection applies to the issue of bathroom access,” Lhamon said. “This new categorical bar of civil rights protection for transgender children required to attend schools every day ignores the text of the law, courts’ interpretation of the law, the stated position of the Department to date, and human decency.”
The policy is a reversal from that of the Obama administration, which extended protections for transgender persons.