On Friday, Georgia’s top education official issued guidance to public schools with regards to President Barack Obama’s directive that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity—don’t comply.
President Obama’s directive came in one of the most historic weeks’ in the history of transgender rights and visibility in America. It is designed to ensure that schools provide “a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, including transgender students.”
Using the bathroom is an activity most of us take for granted. But for transgender students, being forced to use a bathroom that doesn’t align with the gender identity they live every day is a source of shame, and—worse—creates opportunity for bullying and abuse.
Though the Obama directive is not legally binding, federal funds are at stake if public schools fail to comply.
Already, we’re seeing this play out in our neighboring Tar Heel State, which recently passed one of the most egregious anti-transgender laws (HB 2) in the country. Now the state faces a stack of costly federal lawsuits and risks losing billions of dollars in federal funding because HB 2 was found in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.
If Georgia public schools follow the advice of State Superintendent Richard Woods, and refuse to allow transgender students to use the appropriate bathroom, the Peach State could forfeit $2 billion in annual federal aid. Public schools will be some of the hardest hit if those funds are cut off.
That is a steep price just to restrict bathroom access for transgender students. But with some notorious lawmakers threatening to introduce a NC-style anti-transgender bill in 2017, this issue certainly isn’t going away any time soon.SHARE THIS STORY