Securing Equal Access to Sex-Segregated Facilities for Transgender Students

Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society, Vol. 28, p. 301, 2013

Western New England University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-7

31 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2014  

Harper Jean Tobin

National Center for Transgender Equality

Jennifer Levi

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

If Title IX is to have any real meaning for transgender students, it must protect a student's ability to live and participate in school as a member of the gender with which they identify. This means that students must be permitted to use gender-segregated spaces, including restrooms and locker rooms, consistent with their gender identity, without restriction. Denial of equal access to facilities that correspond to a student's gender identity singles out and stigmatizes transgender students, inflicts humiliation and trauma, interferes with medical treatment, and empowers bullies. A student subjected to these conditions is, by definition, deprived of an equal opportunity to learn because of his or her transgender status, and therefore, because of his or her sex. Arguments against equal access reflect broader animus and stereotypes about transgender people, and rely on justifications that have been rejected by courts in related contexts. Access consistent with a student's gender identity is widely practiced, and is the only workable and nondiscriminatory approach that is consistent with Title IX's requirement of equal educational opportunity.

Keywords: Title IX, sex discrimination, transgender students, gender-segregated spaces, equal access

Suggested Citation

Tobin, Harper Jean and Levi, Jennifer, Securing Equal Access to Sex-Segregated Facilities for Transgender Students (2013). Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society, Vol. 28, p. 301, 2013; Western New England University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2459552

Harper Jean Tobin

National Center for Transgender Equality ( email )

1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Jennifer Levi (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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