White House Issues Guidance on Transgender Bathrooms

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WYOU/WBRE) - The Obama administration has a message for public school districts - allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match with their gender identity.  

In a letter to school districts Friday, officials with the department of justice and the department of education outlined that federal law allows students to use locker rooms and bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Local LGBT rights advocates were glad to see the directive.

"What it does is it makes clear that gender identification is included in Title IX coverage and schools are responsible for helping students to be comfortable on their campuses," said Helen Davis with Northeastern Pennsylvania's Rainbow Alliance.

However, some parents believe the Obama administration is overstepping its boundaries by imposing its own values on local communities.

"He's kind of strong-arming it in and I don’t think that's right at all," said James May.

Others we spoke with have concerns about transgendered individuals using same-sex bathrooms. The mandate comes on the heels of a court battle between the federal government and North Carolina.

At issue - the state's so-called bathroom bill which mandates people use restrooms based on their sex at birth. A local attorney says courts have to determine whether the nation's sex discrimination law applies to gender identity.

"The courts may interpret them as, 'what did congress intend at the time they enacted the relevant laws," said Wilkes-Barre attorney Barry Dyller.


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