Appeal possible against injunction barring transgender students from using bathroom of preference

By Dawn Geske | Nov 8, 2016

AUSTIN – A national injunction put in place in August prohibiting transgender students from using the bathroom that they identify likely will be appealed.

The injunction directly affected the bathroom guidelines that the Obama administration enacted for schools throughout the U.S. that gave transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their preference and required schools to recognize the gender that a student identifies with as their physical gender.

The injunction was sought by a coalition of 13 states and was led by Texas. The group alleged that the enforcement of Obama’s bathroom guidelines was unconstitutional and couldn’t be enforced upon all school districts in the U.S. While this ruling may ban the use of bathrooms of preference by transgender students, for the time being, Lou Weaver, transgender programs coordinator at Equality Texas, told the Southeastern Texas Record that an appeal is likely.

“Whatever the short-term outcome of this case, it is likely that there will be appeals, kicking off a long process in the courts,” Weaver told the Southeastern Texas Record. “LGBTQ organizations nationwide and in Texas will continue the vital work of educating about who transgender people are, why nondiscrimination protections are important and how people are helped and no one is hurt by these critical protections.”

While Obama’s guidelines were designed to support the LGBTQ community, putting a stop to their enforcement doesn’t take away the rights of LGBTQ individuals because they are still protected against discrimination under federal law.

“This current injunction changes nothing about the substantive legal rights of transgender students and employees across the country,” Weaver said. “Transgender students and workers continue to have the same rights they had before the guidance was issued. Transgender students and workers may still file complaints with federal agencies, and employers, and school districts that discriminate against transgender people face the risk of federal lawsuits. The law is well established that federal nondiscrimination laws protect transgender people, and employers and school districts ignore that law at their peril.”

While the lawsuit may have put a stop to what the Obama administration had intended with the bathroom guidelines, it doesn’t take away the fact that transgender individuals live in the U.S. where they will continue to be protected by the constitution.

“The outcome of this lawsuit does not change the fact that transgender Americans are currently living, working and attending schools throughout the country and they receive tremendous support from teachers, employers, colleagues and neighbors who know them and understand what it means to be transgender,” Weaver said. “Across the country, schools and employers are already treating transgender students and workers equally by implementing inclusive policies and they will continue to do so. We are confident that justice will be served and transgender Americans will be assured their constitutional rights by the courts, echoing a majority of Americans who support nondiscrimination protections for transgender people and those who are seeking to do the right thing.”

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