Last Thursday, a reporter asked a spokesperson for the Department of Education, Liz Hill if restroom complaints from transgender students aren’t covered by the 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.
Far from refusing to answer that question, Hill told the reporter that indeed, that´s exactly what the law says, adding on Friday that Title IX prohibits any kind of discrimination on the bases of sex, instead of gender identity.
The spokesperson for the Department of Education made it clear that while some complaints by transgender students will definitely be investigated, bathrooms complaints will not be among them.
Regarding this decision, Hill explained that where students are harassed or penalized for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is definitely sex discrimination prohibited by the Title IX. She included transgender students.
However, she pointed out that in the case of bathrooms, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex doesn’t represent any kind of discrimination prohibited by the Title IX.
So far, no formal announcement of the Department´s decision has been made. Naturally, many expect a strong response from the LGBT community.
According to legal experts, the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 points out that discrimination is completely forbidden on the basis of sex. In that language, the word “gender” is not included.
The law states that not a single person in the United States on the basis of sex can be excluded from participation under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
In addition, it points out that not a single person can be denied the benefits of this financial assistance, or be subjected to any form of discrimination under any educational activity that receives it.
According to several members of the LGBT community, the text of that law, by using “sex, is quite ambiguous, thus allowing them to claim that this particular word can also refer to “gender.”
Two years ago, the Obama administration issued a guidance stating that the Title IX guarantees that any single transgender student could use a restroom and any other school facility matching their gender identity.
Basically, Obama’s White House concluded that barring transgender students from public school bathrooms represented a blatant form of discrimination prohibited under that law.
Last year, the Trump Administration rescinded Obama’s guidance, pointing out that it would completely consider every legal issue involved.
DeVos explained that states and individual school districts should be able to determine how to accommodate transgender students. Also, she pointed out that the withdrawal of the Obama’s guidance documents doesn’t leave any student without protection.
In addition, she has emphasized that her department wouldn’t tolerate bullying or any kind of harassment of transgender students and claimed that every single school in the United States must ensure that all students, including LGBT, are able to learn in a safe environment.
Both DeVos and Sessions argued that the Title IX did not obligate any school to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Naturally, this move was widely decried by the LGBT community, which claimed that this could endanger the welfare of transgender students.
Several members of the LGBT community and the Democratic Party strongly criticized these moves, stating these were guided by bigotry and transphobia.
In addition, these people said that the Trump administration’s position on this matter will send a message to schools without clear politics that they should bar transgender students from locker rooms and bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media also decided to play a role in the controversy. As you can imagine, most of the most powerful networks and newspapers claimed that the Trump administration was violating the civil rights of the transgender community by rescinding the Obama guidance.
On this new situation, it is expected that the mainstream media will attack the Trump administration by portraying it as a presidency that discriminates minorities.
Despite that there’s no solid evidence that this is the case, these types of accusations have been used by the mainstream media since day one.