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Texas Judge Temporarily Prevents Implementation of Federal Transgender Rule

At least for now, Texas public schools do not have follow a federal requirement that they allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their desired gender. Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, in the Northern District of Texas, ruled in late August that federal education law defines gender as “the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”

The Obama administration notified public schools across the country last May that transgender students have the right to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their chosen or desired gender identity. The executive order came down in the aftermath of legal action by the U.S. Department of Justice in North Carolina, where the state legislature had enacted a law requiring people who use public restrooms to use the one that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificate. Opponents of the North Carolina law and similar measures across the country say it amounts to unlawful segregation and discrimination, whereas proponents say the laws ensure “common sense privacy safeguards.”

Texas is one of a dozen states that filed litigation to overturn the federal order. Those states argued that education policy should be determined on a state level, and complained that the federal policy was implemented without any input from the states. Texas officials have expressed concerns that the issues needs to be resolved, so that the state doesn’t risk loss of federal funds for education.

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