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How Various States Are Handling the Rights of LGBT Students

How Various States Are Handling the Rights of LGBT Students

A recent report from Indiana University sent a message to the country’s schools to begin asking students about sexual orientation and gender identity in order to compile more data about the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered student population. The report also called for a federal law to be passed to protect LGBT rights through non-discrimination legislation.

In the weeks prior to this report, various states have made national news for how they are respectively handling the issue of LGBT student rights.

Here’s a summary of recent news so you can keep track of where different states stand- and why federal regulation might eventually be needed.

Michigan Issues Guidance for Schools to Allow Students to Pick Gender Identities, Use Respective Bathrooms/Locker Rooms

Michigan quietly and without a press release issued a guidance to its schools to push for allowing students to choose their “gender, name, pronouns and bathrooms” without parental consent.

The guidance also said that students are to be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender they identify with and that other students with an issue will be the ones who have to request separate accommodation.

The guidance is to be finalized by the Board on May 10th, with the public having a chance to comment until April 11.

Read more here. 

South Dakota Almost Passes Bill Banning Transgendered Students From Preferred Bathrooms/Locker Rooms

On the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota’s House and Senate passed legislation last month that would ban transgendered students from using bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.

Under the legislation, transgendered students would be provided “reasonable accommodation” such as access to unisex or single-occupancy bathrooms.

The legislation was vetoed by the state’s governor before it could become law.

Read more here.

North Carolina Passes Legislation Banning Transgendered Students From Using Preferred Bathrooms/Locker Rooms

Where South Dakota failed, North Carolina succeeded. North Carolina recently passed legislation banning transgendered individuals from using public facilities corresponding to their preferred gender- including in schools.

The move has received significant backlash and the state’s federal funding is at stake. North Carolina already has problems properly funding its schools- meaning more trouble could be in store for its beleaguered school systems.

Read more here. 

Georgia Vetoes Law That Would Allow Religious Institutions Right to Deny Transgendered Individuals Access to Preferred Facilities; First LGBT School Opens

Georgia recently faced national scrutiny after it almost passed legislation that would allow for religious institutions to deny transgendered individuals access to public facilities. The legislation was intended to provide religious organizations the freedom to act on their views- nothing has been said on what the implications would have been for students in private, religious schools. The state's governor vetoed the legislation after mounting pressure.

This is in the same state that just months ago announced the opening of the first-of-its-kind school for LGBT youth. The Pride School in Atlanta is a K-12 school that specializes in educating LGBT youth.

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