California Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Equality For Transgender Students

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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Attorney General Becerra: Discrimination Against Transgender Students Violates Federal Law

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined an amicus brief in support of transgender students. In G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a high school student known as G.G., sued the Gloucester County (Va.) School Board after it adopted a policy requiring students to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender assigned to the student at birth, rather than the gender with which the student identifies. G.G. was assigned as female at birth, but identifies as a male, and therefore wished to use the boys’ restroom. 

Serious health consequences can result from gender-identity discrimination, including harassment and isolation. In fact, transgender people attempt suicide at a rate nine times that of the general population.

“Schools should be a safe place where children learn and grow,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It is unacceptable for a school district to institutionalize discrimination. Can you imagine sending your child to school every day knowing he or she will face bullies and harassment because of who he or she is? All students, including those who are transgender, should always feel safe and supported in their schools."  

Last year, the Obama Administration issued guidance that federal law protects the rights of transgender students to use school bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The Fourth Circuit relied on this guidance when it originally ruled in favor of G.G.’s case. The school board appealed the decision to the U.S. States Supreme Court. In February, while the case was pending appeal, the Trump Administration revoked President Obama’s guidance, prompting the U.S. Supreme Court to send the case back to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration.

Today’s friend-of-the-court brief highlights that public safety of students is paramount and will not suffer if transgender people are treated fairly. In fact, the school district’s speculation is contrary to the actual experience of States like California that have strong protections for transgender students, specifically with respect to the use of restrooms at schools.

In defending the rights of transgender students, Attorney General Becerra joins a coalition of 18 attorneys general: New York, Washington, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief is attached to the electronic version of this release at


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