Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Polis commends Department of Education guidelines directing schools to provide equitable access to bathrooms

Today, the Department of Education and Department of Justice sent guidance to schools across the country directing them to provide transgender students access to bathroom facilities that align with their gender identity. The letter makes it clear that public schools and postsecondary institutions that receive federal funds should comply with the guidance, and that incompliance would be a violation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. The Administration’s action comes shortly after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against North Carolina over the state’s HB2 - a law requiring individuals to use bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate.

“The Obama Administration’s letter is an important step towards protecting every student’s basic civil rights, regardless of their gender identity,” Polis said. “Especially in a learning environment, students shouldn’t have to worry about being banned from using the appropriate bathroom because of how they identify. I commend the Administration’s actions in establishing these safeguards and making it known for schools across the nation that discrimination will not be tolerated.”

Since 2010 Polis has introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) - aimed at preventing discrimination against LGBT students in public schools – every session. He’s also an original cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other existing laws to prohibit discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of employment, education, credit, housing, federal funding, jury service, and public accommodations.

Polis is the senior most co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and the first openly gay parent to serve in Congress. [press release]

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