Monday, August 29, 2016

TRANS IN AMERICA - Update on Texas Ruling

"How a legal ruling on transgender bathroom access affects schools" PBS NewsHour 8/22/2016

NOTE:  Many business, like Starbucks, already have 'any gender' restrooms.  This allows more efficient use because it gives two restrooms that anyone can use because they are just alike and lock behind the user.  No more waiting if only one restroom is in use, like you can have if there's men's and women's restrooms.  So why cannot schools do the same?  Are we stuck with outdated idea on design?  Just make a shower + restroom an individual unit that locks behind the user, therefore are non-gender specific.  Lockers would be in the only 'public' area.


SUMMARY:  Just in time for the start of school, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration's directive regarding transgender bathrooms and locker rooms.  That rule said that students should be able to choose the facilities that match their gender identity.  William Brangham talks with Education Week's Evie Blad about how schools are responding.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  This ruling is the second setback in recent weeks for transgender advocates.  Earlier this month, the Supreme Court said a Virginia school board could block a transgender student from using the boys bathroom while the higher court decides if it will take up these broader case.

Yesterday's decision is the first to say that the Obama administration's directive could be blocked nationwide.  Those directives instructed school districts to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their choice.  Texas is one of 13 states challenging the constitutionality of the directive.

In this case, the judge wrote that the administration had exceeded its authority under Title IX, the 1970s-era law banning sex discrimination in schools.

To help us wade through the meaning of all this, I'm joined now by Evie Blad, who is the Education Week reporter who's been covering this story.

So, Evie, what does this ruling say, and how significant is this?

EVIE BLAD, Education Week:  It's very significant, in that it's the first time we have heard a federal court weigh in on a nationwide basis.

There are several cases winding their way through the federal courts now, but the only one that has had a ruling so far applied only in one circuit.  And it's significant, in that the school year is about to start, and this judge is saying, nationwide, that the Obama administration's regulations under Title IX, its civil rights guidance, doesn't need to be implemented.

So what that means is if a school doesn't want to create a policy allowing transgender students to use the rest room of their choice, it doesn't have to.  But if a school has a policy that it wants to have, it can keep that policy.  It just doesn't have a federal directive to do so.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  So, Texas was one of a bunch of states that had objection to these rules.  What is the essence of their objection?

EVIE BLAD:  Well, there are two primary things that you will see in these lawsuits.

One is something that we're all familiar with, which is the argument that folks are making about privacy rights of students.  Does my student or my child who isn't transgender have a right to use a restroom that doesn't have transgender students in it?

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