In a no holds barred move, the US government has given a school district in Chicago 30 days to grant a transgender student access to the female locker room or lose millions in federal funding.
This decision follows an investigation that lasted two years, and has resulted in the department of education ruling that Palatine High School District 21 had violated girl’s rights under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.
Catherine Lhamon, department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, had this to say: “All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities — this is a basic civil right. Unfortunately, Township High School District 211 is not following the law because the district continues to deny a female student the right to use the girls’ locker room.”
Director of the LGBT & HIV Project at ACLU of Illinois, John Knight, also weighed in: “The district’s insistence on separating my client from other students is blatant discrimination. Rather than approaching this issue with sensitivity and dignity, the district has attempted to justify its conduct by challenging my client’s identity as a girl.”
The student who has been at the centre of all this, seemed more than satisfied with the decision: “This decision makes me extremely happy – because of what it means for me, personally, and for countless others. The district’s policy stigmatized me, often making me feel like I was not a ‘normal person.'”
“The department of education’s decision makes clear that what my school did was wrong. I hope no other student, anywhere, is forced to confront this indignity. It is a good day for all students, but especially those who are transgender all across the nation.”