The New York Times has printed a very detailed article on a recent major victory for transgender youth. Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois, had refused to allow a transgender girl equal access to school locker and toilet facilities, and a complaint was made by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. In a letter sent Monday, the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education told the district that requiring a transgender student to use private changing and showering facilities was a violation of that student’s rights under Title IX, a federal law that bans sex discrimination. The district has 30 days to reach a solution or face penalties, including potential administrative law proceedings or a Justice Department court action. The district could lose some or all of its Title IX funding.
From the article:
“All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities — this is a basic civil right,” Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Township High School District 211 is not following the law because the district continues to deny a female student the right to use the girls’ locker room.”
Officials in the Palatine district, which serves more than 12,000 students, have framed their position as a middle ground. The transgender student in question plays on a girls’ sports team, is called “she” by school staff and is referred to by a female name. But the district, citing privacy concerns, had required her to change clothes and shower separately.
The district said she was allowed to change inside the girls’ locker room, but only behind a curtain. The student, who has not been publicly identified, has said she would probably use that curtain to change. But she and the federal government have insisted that she be allowed to make that decision voluntarily, and not because of requirements by the district.
As a rebuttal to ignorant parents who claimed that the student was a “boy” who was “gaming the system to see girls naked,” the Times reported that the student “…has identified as a girl from a young age, has changed her name, received a passport as a female and is undergoing hormone therapy…”