Transgender students in public schools must now be allowed to use whichever bathroom aligns with their chosen gender identity, or internal sense of gender.
A school receiving federal money must comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as underlined in a joint guidance released Friday by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.
As explicitly stated in the guidance, “A school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.”
In a statement, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said UF’s policies are consistent with the guidance. She said UF prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Anyone wanting privacy may use separate, single-unit bathroom facilities on campus, Sikes said.
The government issued the guidance shortly after North Carolina restricted public bathrooms and locker rooms for transgender people, leading to a court fight with the federal government.
“States need to catch up and realize that the source of the problem is beyond the bathrooms,” said LB Hannahs, the director of LGBT Affairs at UF.
Hannahs said the controversy over bathrooms is based off of fear and ignorance of transgender people.
“Education about transgendered people is low,” Hannahs said. “Politically, people say it’s for safety concerns, but there’s been no data to support that.”