What Do the NC & Texas Court Decisions Mean for Trans Students Going Back to School? The Answer Might Surprise You

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September 6, 2016
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For transgender students nationwide, last month may have seemed bleak.

Court decisions handed down in Texas and North Carolina on the rights of transgender students to use the correct restrooms were a bit confusing, to say the least. In response, Lambda Legal has come up with a clear guide to help students and schools cut through the noise -- and understand how these decisions affect them.

For transgender and gender nonconforming students:

Under Title IX, a federal civil rights law, schools are still obligated to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students from discrimination. Title IX establishes protections for these students by banning discrimination on the basis of sex in schools that receive federal funding.  

The law protects your right to equal education opportunities regardless of your gender identity. So, if your school singles you out for separate treatment by trying to prevent you from using the restroom or locker room that matches your gender identity, your school is violating your rights under federal law.

Moreover, you have the right to be called by the name and pronouns that match your gender identity, as well as to present and dress yourself in a manner than aligns with your gender identity.

If your school discriminates against you as a transgender or gender nonconforming student, we want to hear from you. Contact Lambda Legal’s Help Desk at 866-542-8336 or visit lambdalegal.org/help, and share your experience with our staff.

Other resources:

For schools and administrators:

Transgender and gender nonconforming students have clear rights—and it is your responsibility under federal law to protect them.

Under Title IX, students are protected against discrimination based on their gender identity or sex stereotypes. This protects their right to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, their right to have an educational environment free of bullying or other harassment and their right to present and dress themselves in accordance with their gender identity.

Transgender or gender nonconforming students also have the right to privacy concerning their gender identity, transgender and/or transitioning status. Absent a legitimate reason, this information cannot be shared with other students or parents without the student’s permission.

Furthermore, students have the right to create or join student groups that support LGBTQ students, and these groups should be granted the same protections and support as other student organizations.

If you have a question about how the law protects transgender students, or if you are seeking resources on how to support transgender or gender nonconforming students at your school, contact Lambda Legal’s Help Desk at 866-542-8336 or lambdalegal.org/help.

For more on how to support transgender and gender nonconforming students: