Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Department of Justice Supports Transgender Student in Lawsuit Over Bathroom Use

Today the Department of Justice filed an brief on behalf of a transgender boy who sued his school district in Virginia after he was denied access to the boys' restroom.  The brief sets for the Department's position that Title IX requires schools to allow transgender individuals to use the restroom consistent with their gender identities.  A key section of the brief sets forth the agency's rationale:

“Under Title IX, discrimination based on a person's gender identity, a person's transgender status, or a person's nonconformity to sex stereotypes constitutes discrimination based on sex. The term 'sex' as it is used in Title IX is broad and encompasses gender identity, including transgender status. ...
“Prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match his gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX. There is a public interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination."
This is not the first time the Department of Justice has taken up the cause of discrimination against transgender individuals.  Additionally, the Department of Education has signaled its interpretation of Title IX is similar as well.  Yet, courts have been reluctant to take this view, see, e.g.  Hopefully the push from DOJ in this case will help turn that tide.