The United States Government took two major steps on Friday in support of the transgender community.
Obama Administration Issues Guidance to Public Schools Regarding Transgender Restroom Rights
In a joint letter from the Department of Education and the US Justice Department, the Obama administration issued guidance Friday directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. The letter clarifies that transgender students are protected under title IX, and that failure to follow this guidance will result in a loss of federal funding.
Compliance with Title IX
As a condition of receiving Federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations.4 The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity. The Departments’ interpretation is consistent with courts’ and other agencies’ interpretations of Federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination.
The news of this guidance was met with both fanfare and outrage, inciting negative reactions from some of our most noted anti-transgender officials. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin were all outraged by the guidance.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was outspoken saying the State of Texas will not comply.”This will be the end of public education, if this prevails,” Patrick said. “People will pull their kids out, homeschooling will explode, private schools will increase.” He went on to say that his state was being “blackmailed” by
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex.”
HHS Issues New Regulations Regarding Transgender Healthcare
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made it illegal in the US for health providers and insurance companies to discriminate against transgender people.
The final ruling makes it illegal to categorically exclude all gender transition-related health care from coverage including private health insurance plans, Medicaid, Indian Health Services and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) programs. The plans will have to cover services for transgender people if they offer those services to non-transgender people. It also makes it illegal to deny services to transgender citizens for discriminatory reasons.
The regulation applies to most health insurance plans including all state and federal exchanges. It also applies to any plans that are under a state contract or receives federal funding. It also states Transgender people have the right to be treated in a way that matches their identity when it comes to gender-specific facilities, and that this regulation overrides HB2 in North Carolina.
Though this is good news for most in the transgender community, there are still some private plans that are not covered by the regulation.
The news of both the Title IX school guidance and The HHS regulations come on the heels of a recent countersuit against HB2 by the United States Justice Department.
Well it was a pretty bad day for bigots everywhere. People are certainly divided on this issue as it seems to have become yet another left/right political divide. Most of the detractors just seem uneducated on what transgender is. Their views are fueled by fear and misinformation. Just remember this has taken place with every group that has ever had to fight for their rights to be equal. Unfortunately history often repeats itself.