The Education Department Says It Will No Longer Act On Transgender Student Bathroom Complaints

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It would appear that LGBTQ rights have taken yet another blow under the Trump administration. Buzzfeed News has learned that the Education Department will not be investigating or taking any action on complaints from transgender students who are banned from using the bathroom that fits with their gender identity. In February of 2017, the president made the decision to remove Obama-era protections for transgender students, leaving the matter up to individual states.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos initially clashed with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the issue, but eventually relented when it potentially meant costing her her job. For the past year however, the administration has remained murky on its position of whether or not student transgender protections would fall under the umbrella of a 1972 Title IX federal civil rights law, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex — and whether or not it would hear complaints.

The Education Department has now apparently come to a conclusion on the matter, and that answer would be a resounding “no.”

Finally on Thursday, Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, responded “yes, that’s what the law says” when asked again if the Education Department holds a current position that restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.

Asked for further explanation on the department’s position, Hill said Friday, “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.” She added that certain types of transgender complaints may be investigated — but not bathroom complaints.

“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 said. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

It’s unlikely to be the last we hear of this issue, as this new directive by the Education Department stance conflicts with two federal appeals courts, which both state that Title IX guarantees transgender students permission to use restrooms matching their gender identity.

(Via Buzzfeed News)