Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas and other states and officials have filed a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s recently released guidance to schools across the country clarifying that federal law already prohibits discrimination against students based on gender identity. Paul D. Castillo, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office in Dallas, issued the following statement:
“By attacking laws that protect transgender people in schools and at work these state officials are determined to perpetuate fear, enshrine discrimination and endanger transgender people—and students in particular. The suit filed today by Texas Attorney General Paxton completely and willfully misunderstands who transgender people are and the challenges they face in life. We are already in discussions with our partners here in Texas and elsewhere on next steps, and will move quickly to fight this attempt to turn back the clock. It is as true today as it has always been in the fight for civil rights: the discomfort of some can never be used to justify the discriminatory treatment of others.
“Across the country, including here in Texas, school districts have implemented without incident fair and inclusive policies that respect the rights and dignity of transgender students. In fact, accompanying the federal guidance issued two weeks ago was abundant documentation from school districts nationwide demonstrating successful implementation of these policies and the improved outcomes such respectful policies produce for all.
“Singling out transgender students for separate and unequal treatment is demeaning and harmful, and compelling them to use bathrooms that don’t correspond with their gender identity subjects them to potential abuse and harassment. All students deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in school, free of harassment, discriminatory treatment and the threat of violence.”