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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced joining a coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the rights of transgender students in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board. The case stems from a lawsuit against a school board in Virginia over a policy requiring students to use the restroom that corresponds with their sex assigned at birth, rather than their gender identity. In the brief, the coalition notes that discrimination based on transgender status causes significant harm to students and denies them equal access to educational opportunities.
“Our schools should give every child and teenager the opportunity to thrive,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Policies that stigmatize students for who they are have no place in our society or in our schools. In California, we’ll keep fighting for the rights of transgender Americans across the country. We’re proud of our state’s strong antidiscrimination laws – it’s time some places caught up.”
Nearly 1.5 million people in the United States — including approximately 150,000 teenagers — identify as transgender. Discriminatory bathroom policies can have a significant impact on the well-being and mental health of transgender Americans who already face pervasive discrimination. In the 2015 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 77 percent of respondents in grades K-12 who were known or perceived to be transgender reported experiencing harassment by students, teachers, or staff. The Gloucester County School Board’s restroom policy only serves to further stigmatize transgender students. Moreover, the policy violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, and transgender status. Policies that prevent transgender people from using sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity are unnecessary and unlawful. In contrast to the Gloucester County School Board’s policy, all California schools have been required to permit students to use sex-segregated facilities consistent with the student’s gender identity since 2014.
Attorney General Becerra has vigorously fought to defend the rights of transgender people in California and across the country. Just last week, the Attorney General successfully blocked the Trump Administration’s harmful healthcare refusal rule that threatened the health and well-being of millions of LGBT individuals across the country. The California Department of Justice has also consistently fought on behalf of the rights of transgender students, filing briefs at earlier stages of the Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board case in both May and March of 2017. The Attorney General is also a co-plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, a case seeking to protect the rights of transgender individuals actively serving in or seeking to join the U.S. military. Earlier this year, the Attorney General joined a multistate brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of the rights of LGBT workers.
In supporting transgender student rights, Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of New York, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the brief is available here.