Access to facilities

Every student deserves a safe place to use the restroom or to change their clothes in a locker room. Many school districts across Texas are allowing transgender students full and equal access to these facilities that align with their gender identity.

The U.S. Constitution and Title IX both protect students from sex discrimination at school, and courts across the country have found that this ban on sex discrimination fully protects transgender students. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 decision that transgender people are protected by a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. That employment rule, called Title VII, is often used to interpret another rule called Title IX. Several courts have already found that the latter decision protects transgender students from discrimination in schools.

Courts across the country continue to rule that the Constitution protects trans students from being banned from school bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. Although some students may prefer to use a single-user, all-gender restroom or changing room, courts have been very clear that forcing students to use these separate facilities unfairly separates them from their peers and often leads to bullying and harassment since it can “out” them as transgender.

School administrators’ fears about allowing transgender students to use multi-user restrooms and locker rooms are often unfounded. Across the country, thousands of transgender students are using facilities that align with their gender identity without any incident. In some situations, school districts have added curtains and privacy dividers to showers and locker rooms, which benefit all students equally and help alleviate privacy concerns.

If you or someone you know is facing discrimination related to accessing facilities, you can seek legal assistance through the ACLU of Texas or Lambda Legal.

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