Transgender students' bathroom choice can't be restricted, White House says


President Barack Obama's administration has addressed transgender students’ rights and schools’ legal obligations in a letter sent to school districts on Friday.

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice say the letter provides "significant guidance" to schools and explains how the departments evaluate whether schools are complying with their legal obligations.

At stake for the schools is federal funding – the letter says schools that don't comply are in violation of Title IX, and money they receive from the federal government could get yanked.

This comes just four days after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against North Carolina over H.B. 2 – a law passed in March that requires people to use the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with their biological sex. It also prohibits cities from passing their own nondiscrimination ordinances that go against whatever the state law is.

The Department of Justice says the law discriminates against transgender individuals.

The Department of Education also released examples of how school administrators, educators, students, and parents can support transgender students.

Sen. Al Franken called the new directive a "big win," and said he's happy the Obama administration issued the guidelines.

What's happening with that proposal in Minnesota?

Thirty-five Minnesota lawmakers previously signed a letter to North Carolina's governor, saying they supported the law.

One of them, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe, introduced a similar bill here in Minnesota. It would change Minnesota’s Human Rights Act to say that “a person’s sex is either male or female as biologically defined” – and bathroom use would follow that. (You can read the proposed bill here.)

Gruenhagen has said "privacy and public safety of adults both in our society and schools” was the reason for the proposal, according to Session Daily.

The bill hasn't actually gone anywhere.

There was quick backlash from LGBTQ advocacy groups, who say it conflicts with the Minnesota Human Rights Act. And emotions were high during a House committee hearing about the bill in April.

Lawmakers there didn't take any action on it; and the Senate version also got sent to a committee (which is standard for most bills), then never voted on.

Gov. Mark Dayton has also said he’d veto the Minnesota bill if it got to his deskedittext

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