By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com July 25 2013 2:05 PM ET
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education today told a California school district that it must allow a transgender student to use locker rooms, bathrooms, and other facilities designated for males.
The decision came as the result of a resolution agreement between the departments and the Arcadia Unified School District, in response to a complaint filed by the transgender student, who chose to remain anonymous.
In addition to access to these facilities, the landmark decision also mandates that the rising ninth grader, who was assigned female at birth but identifies and presents as male, be allowed to participate in sports teams and other male-exclusive extracurriculars. He “will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district,” the statement reads.
The departments ordered the Arcadia district to change its policies to reflect these stipulations, and to provide training for school administrators on gender-based discrimination, as well as methods for providing a safe environment for transgender students.
Asaf Orr, a lawyer with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, advocated the case of the student, who wished to remain anonymous. Orr told Politico that, while the school had responded to cases of bullying, it had also ostracized the student by offering him a nurse’s bathroom, which was often locked, as well as a separate cabin for sleeping quarters during a school field trip.
“This sends a clear message to school districts around the country saying ‘This is what the federal government is going to be expecting of you,’” said Orr.