Obama Administration to Public Schools: Let Transgender Students Go to the Bathroom

The letter directs public schools to allow transgender students to go to the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Demonstrators protest the passage of North Carolina's bathroom restriction law. Skip Foreman/AP


In a sweeping letter to be issued to school districts across the country on Friday, the Obama administration will direct public schools to allow transgender students to go to the bathrooms that match their gender identity, the New York Times reports.

“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so,” according to an advance copy provided to the Times that will go out on Friday.

The notice comes in the middle of a contentious legal battle between the Justice Department and North Carolina over the state’s decision to restrict bathroom access according to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate. Administration officials have said the state law amounted to a violation of civil rights, and federal agencies were exploring whether the North Carolina law could result in the loss of billions in federal funding. 

Courts have yet to settle on whether national anti-discrimination laws apply to gender identity. A federal appeals court decision in Virginia last month sided with Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy who was born female and wanted to use the boy’s bathroom at his high school, noting that he had a right to sue and that a lower court should reconsider his request to use the boy’s bathroom.

You can read the letter below.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.