Texas Federal Judge Blocks Obama Administration Protection for Trans People

Texas judge grants federal injunction blocking Obama administration's transgender protection directive.

Bathroom sign

Image via Flickr

Bathroom sign

A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas issued a federal injunction Sunday that will block guidelines given by the Obama administration meant to protect transgender students and employees in public school restrooms. The Texas Tribune reported Monday that U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor granted the injunction to 12 states, including Texas, that filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the federal guidelines directing public schools to allow transgender students and employees to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. 

Buzzfeed reported that the lawsuit was filed last week in Texas, where the complainants argue the legislation is a "social experiment":

Defendants have conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings acros the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.

The lawsuit claims Title IX, a civil rights law that protects against sex discrimination in public schools, was never meant to be interpreted to include gender identity, but Dena Iverson, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice gave a statement to Buzzfeed saying, "While the Department will review the complaint, the federal government has strong legal foundations to uphold the civil rights of transgender Americans."  

O'Connor wrote in his injunction order that granted a temporary suspension of the White House directive:

This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students’ rights and that of personal privacy while using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school.

He added: 

[W]hile this injunction remains in place, [the Obama administration is] enjoined from initiating, continuing, or concluding any investigation based on [its] interpretation that the definition of sex includes gender identity in Title IX’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex. 

Buzzfeed reported that the Obama administration is expected to appeal O'Connor's decision, though the Justice Department wouldn't confirm definitively what its next step would be.  

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