A federal court judge has blocked a national directive, announced in May, that allows transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Tennessee was one of thirteen states that challenged the directive.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor technically issued a temporary injunction of the directive, which he added that the decision “should apply nationwide,” unless any state individually disagrees and opts out.

The directive asserted that transgender students have the right to use bathroom and locker room facilities that are consistent with their gender identity thanks to laws that prevent sex discrimination. Social conservatives argued that it was too much a stretch to simply assume sex discrimination laws regarded transgender people

Effectively, the injunction means the federal government is less likely to enforce the directive, which stated that schools could lose federal funds should they choose not to consent to the decree. The New York Times provides a thorough recap of the case and its history.

Here in Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Diane Black was quick to praise the decision, according to The Tennessean (a story that includes more reactions from Tennessee lawmakers). Part of her statement reads:

By forcing young children into situations where they may share a bathroom with someone of the opposite biological sex, the Obama Administration has failed to strike that balance and will put our students at unnecessary risk. We must continue fighting this dangerous and coercive directive on all fronts, which is why I am a cosponsor of legislation invaliding the President’s orders and have sought to defund implementation of these actions through the appropriations process.

David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee had this to say:

This is a necessary first step in Tennessee being able to protect the privacy and security of our children when they go to one of our public schools and colleges. This ruling does not prevent a local school from imposing its own policy allowing students to choose the bathroom or locker room of their choice, but this ruling does at least mean that schools are not forced by the federal government to recognize confusion between the sexes.

From the ACLU of Tennessee’s Hedy Weinberg:

We are very troubled by the court’s misguided decision, which targets vulnerable young people across our state who simply seek to live their lives free from discrimination when they go to school or to the restroom. However, this ruling does not change the fact that transgender students still have the right to go to school without being singled out for differential treatment or discrimination. Tennessee school districts are not only permitted, but required, to treat transgender students fairly. We will continue to fight for the fair treatment of all students in Tennessee.

Read the ruling.

Read the original complaint.







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