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LGBTQ Advocates Are Concerned about the Administration’s New Civil Rights Probe

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LGBTQ advocates are understandably concerned after the administration recently released an announcement indicating that it would be conducting a federal investigation into whether a school district’s transgender bathroom policy contributed to the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl in Georgia.

According to reports, the school district adopted a policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity, and the young girl was assaulted by a male student who identified her as “genderfluid.” Federal civil rights investigators will now reportedly be looking into whether the policy created a “hostile environment for the student and other girls.” However, advocates are concerned because the administration’s complaint was filed with assistance from an organization called the “Alliance Defending Freedom,” which regularly files lawsuits challenging school district transgender policies nationwide. Specifically, many advocates are concerned that the Department of Education plans to use the incident in an effort to further a particular ideology and political viewpoint in these types of investigations, thus placing the protected rights of the LGBTQ community in jeopardy.

This Does Not Appear To Be About Child Safety

In February of this year, the administration rescinded a directive from the previous administration, which dictated that federal law protects the right of transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Since then, it has also halted all investigations into civil rights complaints filed by transgender students of bathroom access issues.

Yet, according to studies done on the topic, school policies affirming the rights of transgender students do not increase safety risks or sexual assault incidents committed against children, indicating that is not the specific concern of this administration.

Other LGBTQ Civil Rights at Risk

The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court brings a number of concerns that the LGBTQ community’s civil rights are in jeopardy. Specifically, in addition to transgender bathroom policies, the following issues could very well come up for review in the high court:

  • Same-sex marriage & benefits: There has already been litigation against local governments over provisions that provide for the same benefits to same-sex employees—an issue that was not specifically addressed by the previous landmark same-sex marriage ruling out of SCOTUS. If this issue makes it to the Supreme Court, we could see a ruling that affirms the right for states to eliminate or limit benefits for same-sex couples;
  • Transgender troop ban cases: While multiple federal courts have already blocked the current administration’s attempts to implement such a ban, the U.S. Supreme Court could decide in Trump’s favor by finding that the ban is necessary for “military readiness,” (in spite of the research showing just how unfounded this is);
  • Discrimination against transgender individuals due to “religious freedom”: Cases that further the already-existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent that private businesses can deny services to same-sex couples based on “religious grounds”; and
  • Whether the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to LGBTQ individuals, specifically.

Contact Our Experienced Florida Civil Rights Attorneys with Questions

If you live in Florida and your civil rights have been violated due to gender identity-related issues, contact our civil rights attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can help you achieve justice.

Resources:

politico.com/newsletters/morning-education/2018/10/04/lgbtq-advocates-worry-about-politics-in-devos-new-civil-rights-probe-362006

williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/in-the-news/study-finds-no-link-between-transgender-rights-law-and-bathroom-crimes/

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