OKLAHOMA CITY - In response to the ongoing attacks on transgender youth, most recently including access to school bathrooms that align with their gender identity, the ACLU of Oklahoma and Freedom Oklahoma issued the following joint statement:
“Transgender people are part of our community, our families, and our workplaces, and they, just like everyone else, need to be able to safely access restrooms. School administrators have a duty to ensure that all students can learn in a welcoming and harassment-free environment, including transgender students, who are especially vulnerable to bullying and discrimination. And it is extremely disappointing to see leaders in our community, from school boards to the State Superintendent, continue to shift their responsibility to politicians who have actively worked to silence the voices of transgender youth.”
“The Supreme Court has made clear that discriminating against someone because they are transgender is prohibited sex discrimination under federal law. Two appellate courts and several district courts across the country have held that Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination bars schools from excluding transgender youth from restrooms that align with their gender. The Constitution also prohibits government entities from discriminating against people because they are transgender. Singling out one group of people and barring them from using the appropriate facilities is unconstitutional.”
“Oklahoma is not addressing privacy concerns by forcing transgender students into separate spaces. Rather, the state is sending transgender students the message that they should be ashamed of who they are and of their bodies. Hundreds of school districts around the country allow transgender students to use facilities based on their gender identity. These policies enhance safety by ensuring that schools are not signaling that it is okay to target or stigmatize transgender students. There is no data of any kind to support the claim that allowing students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity undermines the safety of students.”
“The ACLU of Oklahoma and Freedom Oklahoma are available to anyone, including the current Attorney General, legislators, or school administrators, looking for guidance on how to implement inclusive policies allowing all students access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. All of us, regardless of our gender, want to be able to live safely as who we are and thrive in the world.”
Stories amplifying attacks on 2SLGBTQ+ people have a measurable negative impact on mental health. We ask that stories covering this topic include information to access 2SLGBTQ+ affirming mental health support, such as Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860), the Trevor Project (call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678), and the LGBT Hotline (888-843-4564).