States Sue Administration Over Transgender Bathroom Policy

May 25, 2016

By David Montgomery and Alan Blinder

The Obama administration on Wednesday faced its first major challenge to its directive this month about the civil rights of transgender students in public schools, as officials in 11 states filed a lawsuit that tested the federal government’s interpretation of the statute forbidding sexual discrimination.

The states, including Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin, brought the case in a Federal District Court in North Texas and said that the Obama administration had “conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process and running roughshod over common sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

The challenge by the states, most of which are led by Republican governors, came 12 days after civil rights lawyers from the Department of Education and the Justice Department issued what they described as “significant guidance” about how schools should accommodate transgender students to remain in compliance with federal law. A school, the Obama administration lawyers wrote, “must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.”

The government said that a school had an obligation “to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents or community members raise objections or concerns.” The officials added that “the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”

The guidance provoked an uproar among conservatives, who said that the Obama administration had gone beyond settled law about discrimination in the United States, and it fed into the rapidly escalating national battle about transgender rights.

Wednesday’s litigation opened yet another front in the nation’s courtrooms. This month, the Justice Department and the State of North Carolina sued each other about a state law that curbed public restroom access for transgender people.

The guidance at issue in the Texas litigation become public soon after, and the state officials said Wednesday that the federal government had gone “so far beyond any reasonable reading of the relevant congressional text such that the new rules, regulations, guidance and interpretations functionally exercise lawmaking power reserved only to Congress.”

“This represents just the latest example of the current administration’s attempts to accomplish by executive fiat what they couldn’t accomplish through the democratic process in Congress,” Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas said in a statement. “By forcing through his policies by executive action, President Obama excluded the voice of the people. We stand today to ensure those voices are heard.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include nine states — Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin — as well as the governor of Maine, Paul R. LePage; the Arizona Department of Education; and school districts in Arizona and Texas.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

18 comments on “States Sue Administration Over Transgender Bathroom Policy

  • Every house in America has a bathroom that everyone uses….

    I went to a very expensive restaurant recently in Philly. I went to the restroom and my mom stood to go as well. It was eyebrow raising when we were told that they had one bathroom. Unisex!

    We went in and on one wall were sinks and mirrors. The other wall had 9 or 10 stalls that had cinderblock walls between them. You had privacy and there was also a very small sink in the stall if you were inhibited washing your hands in “public”… Guess what? Some asshole still managed to piss on the toilet seat!

    All I care about is that you wash your damn hands.



    Report abuse

  • The officials added that “the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”

    A variation on the use of the debate stopping term, “I am offended by….” (Insert personal bigotry here)

    Because you feel “Discomfort” is something you have to deal with. Learning about the current science on gender identity and misalignment, would help you to not feel so “Discomforted”. The more cogent rational evidence you can assemble, the more rational you opinion will be. Rational people have no issue with this. Ideologues do.



    Report abuse

  • hi

    i understand there are hermaphrodites, intersex etc. However, this has always been so.

    I certainly am on the side of tolerance and acceptance of sexual minorities.

    the problem i have with some of this kind of stuff is that there are lots of minor clauses, so to speak.
    so, for instance, a man that chooses to ‘identify’ as a woman is a woman, and to disagree or question leads to accusations of ‘hate speech’.

    the recent case of Germaine Greer is a case in point.

    I also doubt the wisdom of things like transgender kids, promoting transgender in the media etc. It seems to the number of people suffering from ‘Gender Dysphoria’ is quite small.

    as such, I certainly support the rights of sexual minorities, but there is something more going on with this toilet gender issue.

    I don’t believe that Caitlyn Jenner is really a woman, but i would support his right to live as he wishes. apart from politeness, i don’t really see Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, he strikes me as a man in drag.



    Report abuse

  • anton #4
    May 26, 2016 at 7:35 am
    >

    I don’t believe that Caitlyn Jenner is really a woman, but i would support his right to live as he wishes. apart from politeness, i don’t really see Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, he strikes me as a man in drag.

    The point is that due to hormone effects during gestation the individual can have a female brain in a male body or vice-versa and be sexually attracted to the genetically same sex..
    If they have had hormone therapy or reassignment surgery, they are physically in the body (approximately) of the selected sex.

    This political nonsense, is about a theistic know-it-all false dichotomy, which denies psychological trans-sexuality and intersex or hermaphrodite conditions, followed by deciding to victimise the affected persons by forcing them into inappropriate public facilities.
    It is a combined feature of ignorance of biology and the religious dogmatists’ inability to consider sexuality in an informed adult manner.

    Biologists, of course are well aware of hermaphrodites, and species (such as some fish) which change their sex in response to environmental conditions.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_change
    Some species exhibit sequential hermaphroditism. In these species, such as many species of coral reef fishes, sex change is a normal anatomical process.[1] Clownfish, wrasses, moray eels, gobies[2] and other fish species are known to change sex, including reproductive functions. A school of clownfish is always built into a hierarchy with a female fish at the top. When she dies, the most dominant male changes sex and takes her place.[3] In the wrasses (the family Labridae), sex change is from female to male, with the largest female of the harem changing into a male and taking over the harem upon the disappearance of the previous dominant male.

    Chickens can sometimes undergo natural sex changes. Normally, female chickens have just one functional ovary, on their left side. Although two sex organs are present during the embryonic stages of all birds, once a chicken’s female hormones come into effect, it typically develops only the left ovary. The right gonad, which has yet to be defined as an ovary, testes, or both (called an ovotestis), typically remains dormant. Certain medical conditions can cause a chicken’s left ovary to regress. In the absence of a functional left ovary, the dormant right sex organ may begin to grow, if the activated right gonad is an ovotestis or testes, it will begin secreting androgens. The hen does not completely change into a rooster, however. This transition is limited to making the bird phenotypically male.



    Report abuse

  • i’ve never heard of much about a ‘female brain’ and a male ‘brain’, and people being born with the wrong gender brain.

    Can you provide some information on this?

    I don’t have much time for religious dogmatists.

    However, I haven’t really seen any strong argument for how a man can become a woman, and what are the criteria for such a change of status. Jenner has a penis, and doesn’t and cannot have ovaries nor give birth etc.

    In particular, I would like to ask about what people think about the gender fluidity theories, which is strongly influenced by Judith Butler. I’m not at all convinced of this.

    as i said, I am for tolerance and respect, but i feel that to say Caitlyn Jenner is really a woman is a bit like saying 2+2=5.

    but i may be missing something, and i’m open to hearing the other side.



    Report abuse

  • anton #6
    May 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

    However, I haven’t really seen any strong argument for how a man can become a woman, and what are the criteria for such a change of status.

    http://www.healthofchildren.com/G-H/Hypogonadism.html

    Definition: – Hypogonadism is the condition in which the production of sex hormones and germ cells (sperm and eggs) is inadequate.

    The gonads are not independent in their function, however. They are closely controlled by the pituitary gland. The pituitary hormones are the same for males and females, but the gonadal hormones are different. Men produce mostly androgens, and women produce mostly estrogens and progesterone. Androgens regulate the development of the embryo, determining whether it is a male or a female (male in the presence of androgens and female in the absence of androgens). They also direct the adolescent maturation of sex organs into their adult form. Further, they sustain other sexual organs and their function throughout the reproductive years. Estrogen and testosterone help to maintain bone mass and strength and may protect the cardiovascular system.

    Hormones can be inadequate during or after each stage of development—embryonic and adolescent. During each stage, inadequate hormone stimulation will prevent normal development.

    Hypogonadism may occur at any age; however, consequences differ according to the age at onset. If hypogonadism occurs prenatally (even if incomplete), sexual ambiguity may result. If hypogonadism occurs before puberty , puberty does not progress. If hypogonadism occurs after puberty, infertility and sexual dysfunction result.

    Having a male or female body form is determined (but not exclusively) hormones including those produced during pregnancy.

    There can also be some hormone swapping between embryos involved where twins are sharing a pregnancy.



    Report abuse

  • anton #6
    May 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

    i’ve never heard of much about a ‘female brain’ and a male ‘brain’, and people being born with the wrong gender brain.

    Can you provide some information on this?

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6973/full/427390a.html

    Brain development: The most important sexual organ

    New evidence suggests that the brain begins to develop differently in males and females much earlier than was thought — before sex hormones come into play. Carina Dennis considers the implications.

    New findings about the genetic and other factors that influence the brain’s sexual development could do more than simply rewrite the textbooks. They might provide insights into conditions such as transsexualism — and perhaps eventually lead to tests that could determine whether a baby with an intersex condition is more likely to grow up thinking, feeling and behaving like a man or a woman.

    Warne, for instance, has surveyed intersex individuals in Vietnam and India — for whom surgery was not available — and found that most wished they had been operated on as infants.

    Given the growing realization that hormones don’t act alone in directing the brain to develop along male or female lines, Vilain suggests that any surgery should be delayed until the child can offer consent and has started displaying gender-specific behaviour. But he hopes that it may one day become possible to use genetic tests to allow decisions about gender assignment to be taken with more confidence at an earlier age.



    Report abuse

  • Hi

    thanx for the links. The Nature article is interesting, but it is new evidence. it is not enough evidence as of yet.

    How many people suffer from hypergonadism? Is this transgender debate and movement about hypergonadism. there have always been hermaphrodites since ancient greece and i’m all for tolerance. but i’m not sure that this proves what the transgender movement seems to demand. I don’t believe that there can be so many people suffering from hypergonadism that have all been oppressed up till now.

    Does Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner suffer from hypergonadism or from gender dysphoria?

    What is the criteria for transgender?
    Is it based on someone simply choosing to self identify as another gender?
    What if, like Rachel Dolezeal, someone chooses to identify as ‘black’, but is not in fact black.

    Not really come across a really strong argument why i ought to see Caitlyn Jenner as a real woman, rather than as a man suffering from gender dysphoria.

    Thanx for the articles. I DON’T have a set position on this, but waiting to see more research.

    There is also some evidence that sees transgender as a kind of mental illness. This is a good article from the Wall Street Journal:
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120



    Report abuse

  • anton #9
    May 26, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    thanx for the links. The Nature article is interesting, but it is new evidence. it is not enough evidence as of yet.

    You do realise, that “Nature” is one of the very top world-leading expert peer-reviewed scientific journals, while “The Wall Street Journal” – is a newspaper written by journalists!

    Not only that, but the article is commenting on up-dating evidence based medical information on the same subject from earlier scientific publications.

    These are researched and expert reviewed studies, not newspaper articles expressing personal opinions.

    These people exist and need to be accommodated in providing public facilities. Their physical conditions can be sufficiently embarrassing to them without anyone trying to make their social problems worse!



    Report abuse

  • “These people exist and need to be accommodated in providing public facilities. Their physical conditions can be sufficiently embarrassing to them without anyone trying to make their social problems worse!” Alan4Discussion

    this sounds more like political rhetoric than science. Its not clear there is any issue about toilets apart from one that is being created to force some laws and for political ends.

    the toilet facilities issue just like the gay cake bakery issue. they are not entirely the issue.

    the WSJ article was written by a psychiatrist and distinguised professor at John Hopkins uni.
    the argument he makes is clear enough. transgender is a form of mental illness.

    as such, i’m not sure we should be encouraging mental illness, if it is mental illness.

    but on the issue of protection and access to public facilities, then i’m against discrimination. but i sense this is a created issue, as there are surely not really guards outside of public toilets checking peoples identity.



    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion #5: It is a combined feature of ignorance of biology and the religious dogmatists’ inability to consider sexuality in an informed adult manner

    Absolutely true Alan, but there is another factor, the hatred which the Republicans feel for the Obama administration. Religions have always repressed sexuality, and the Right in America realise its power, that’s why they always choose to fight on sexual grounds. If no serious sexual issues exist, then they create them, as they have done in this case.

    It’s Orwellian, and I looked up a few quotes to illustrate the point, I hope the readers or the Mods don’t mind if they’re a bit long:

    *”Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother….”

    Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party’s sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she put it was: “When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?”

    That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.*

    Alright it’s a bit OTT, but I’m sure that it says something about the obsessions of the Republicans and the religious nutters generally. There were a few sentences in there that I wanted to bold, but it wouldn’t let me do bold and italics at the same time.

    It says buckets about the US political system that such manufactured scientific, social and legal rot and hysteria, could find its way seriously into a rigged court, packed with Republican placemen, with every chance of success.



    Report abuse

  • anton #11
    May 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    the argument he makes is clear enough. transgender is a form of mental illness.

    It is a deviation from normal sexual development, but that does not make it “an illness”! We also need to differentiate between physical intersex and hermaphrodite features, and the sexual brain development I linked!

    as such, i’m not sure we should be encouraging mental illness, if it is mental illness.

    These are medical and physical conditions which arise in a small proportion of the population. We can neither encourage nor discourage them.
    We can only accept them as they are, and make adjustments to accommodate those affected, as we do for those affected by say dwarfism!
    http://www.webmd.com/children/dwarfism-causes-treatments



    Report abuse

  • eejit #12
    May 26, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    There were a few sentences in there that I wanted to bold, but it wouldn’t let me do bold and italics at the same time.

    If you want a section in italic, start with <..> with em inside the brackets in place of the dots, and end with /em inside a second pair. You can then use ** to start a bold section of text inside that paragraph, and ** to end it.



    Report abuse

  • anton #11
    May 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    but on the issue of protection and access to public facilities, then i’m against discrimination. but i sense this is a created issue, as there are surely not really guards outside of public toilets checking peoples identity.

    Indeed so, – but that raises the point of how such legislation would work and be enforced, unless some perverted busy-bodies are going to be poking around in people’s underwear or peering into cubicles!



    Report abuse

  • @OP – “This represents just the latest example of the current administration’s attempts to accomplish by executive fiat what they couldn’t accomplish through the democratic process in Congress,” Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas said in a statement.

    Ah! The decision has been taken on the basis of seeking expert medical advice!

    “By forcing through his policies by executive action, President Obama excluded the voice of the people.
    We stand today to ensure those voices are heard.”

    Well what a surprise!
    The voice of public ignorance and prejudice has been replaced by decisions based on expert advice – much to the annoyance of the empty-headed representatives of public ignorance, who are too ignorant, stupid, bigoted, or incompetent, to seek expert medical advice!



    Report abuse

  • i’ve never heard of much about a ‘female brain’ and a male ‘brain’, and people being born with the wrong gender brain. Can you provide some information on this?

    Anton, just adding to what Alan4Discussion has mentioned. I’ve been reading about research into this since university some 20 years ago now. It’s hardly new. Consider this, how is it you feel attracted to one sex or another, if you discount some deity it must be because of brain wiring. What Alan said was the subject of a number of interesting experiments with rats who’s brains become wired as typical female or male after birth, they found injecting them after birth with male or female hormone could reliably alter their behavior from the typical. It was thought in humans this happened in early stages as the fetus became flooded with the respective hormones after the development of the gonads and the fetus’s brains were washed with either estrogen (if ovaries developed) or testosterone (if testicles developed), hence your behaviors could be in part determined not so much by your genes but by the expression of those genes. Likely your preference for one gender or even identity could therefore be altered if something went wrong during your embryonic development.

    At university at the time I had sociology lectures who were pushing tabua rasa (blank slate) which struck me as likely ridiculous on its own, clearly many animals had instincts and I couldn’t see why we alone would be free of them and likely thought it would be a combination of brain wiring and conditioning. I’d think that all expressions of sexuality and gender identity would be heavily influenced by how the brain is organized.

    As a strictly butter side up man, I can no more fathom what argument would induce me to bat for the other team (so to speak). No amount of viewing homosexual porn for example, would induce me to suddenly wish to start performing oral sex on some guy. All power to those that like that sort of thing but it just not my cup of tea (I don’t particularly like tea either). Likewise I remember no deliberate conditioning to make me fancy girls but fancy them I did from a very young age. I remember coming into my sexual preference as a young lad in the 70’s, my parents use to take us on holidays at North Stradbroke Island were we would stay in a small fibro beach house overlooking the ocean. Several families would stay there all us kids sleeping on the deck every night in blow up mattresses or stretchers covered in insect repellent. Being the early seventies there was still a bit of the free love and escapes from the restrictive confines of Australia’s then conservative and stiff values and Straddie being an hours barge trip with a single policeman and many miles of beach was at the time frequented by men and women who felt the need to wander around starkers. At that time us kids were just fed and kicked out of the house to play, we would scamper off around the sand dunes, swim on the beaches etc. and wander back when hungry. Of course this meant coming face to face (actually I was a lot shorter then so it was face to other bits) with many a naked young lad or lass. I was a little frighted of both but I knew my eyes were drawn to these sun bronzed women. Of course now they would all be old women probably riddled with skin cancers due to the excess sun exposure but I salute you all! I digress….

    Anyway, Caitlyn Jenner may bother you because he is interfering with your natural impulses and confusing them Boobs/ feminine (good), beard / boobs (argh I’m confused), however this may or may not be how he/she feels. The brain is a complex structure, all sorts of weirdness happens. Non-standard gender identity it seems to me is not that uncommon, no need to impose our values on them.



    Report abuse

  • Jesus on a gibbet – this is the hill these idiots choose to die on – when we’ve got huge climate change problems, crumbling infrastructure, people with jobs that don’t allow them to afford housing or food, epidemic disease looming large. But oh, no; what’s most important – the only thing that will keep the world from ending and the sun from going nova – is that we keep Y-chromosomes in one room and X-chromosomes in another whilst their bearers pee.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.