This week will go down in history as a week of unprecedented progress in advancing transgender equality.
In a rapid-fire chain of events, the Obama Administration has weighed in on transgender discrimination in states, schools and healthcare—all in one week’s time.
Here’s what you need to know about what’s new.
No matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. -Attorney General, Loretta Lynch
Department of Justice lawsuit against North Carolina’s Discriminatory HB 2
In April, North Carolina legislators passed into law one of the most extreme anti-LGBT bills (HB 2) in the country. Most egregiously, HB 2 specifically targets transgender North Carolinians for discrimination by barring them from using public restrooms that align with the gender identity they live every day.
Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) found HB 2 in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act due to its discriminatory nature. The state had five days to cease implementation of the law. Instead, they decided to sue the federal government.
— Georgia Unites (@GeorgiaUnites) May 10, 2016
In response, the DOJ announced this Monday it is filing a federal lawsuit against North Carolina for their non-compliance to repeal discriminatory HB 2. In a landmark statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed the transgender community directly saying: “No matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”
A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.
Federal decree on bathroom access for transgender students in public schools
Yesterday, President Obama affirmed the rights of transgender students across America. According to the first-ever directive, all public schools and universities must allow transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with the gender identity they live every day. The official letter reads: “A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so.”
— Freedom for All USA (@freedom4allusa) May 13, 2016
This is a long-awaited decision that, according to top officials, is designed to give schools clarity and cohesion in policies: “Schools want to do right by all of their students and have looked to us to provide clarity on steps they can take to ensure that every student is comfortable at their school, is in an environment free of discrimination, and has an opportunity to thrive.”
Federal rule against transgender discrimination in healthcare
In another historic move, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule today prohibiting discrimination in the provision of health care and insurance on the basis of gender identity.
According to the breaking BuzzFeed article:
The rule, formed under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, will apply to insurance providers that cover millions of Americans.
In Georgia, there are still no explicit statewide non-discrimination laws explicitly protecting LGBT Georgians from unfair treatment and harm. In 2017, lawmakers should work to change that.SHARE THIS STORY