Jump directly to the content
Responding to the Transgender Bathroom Access Controversy
Responding to the Transgender Bathroom Access Controversy
How church leaders can navigate this still-developing legal issue.

Historically, a person's gender was determined at birth. But in recent years, some have argued that their "gender identity" is different from their gender at birth. For example, while born a biological male, a person comes to identify with the female gender. Such persons are commonly referred to as "transgender” individuals. Some of them have surgery or hormonal therapy to change some of their physical characteristics, but many do not.

On May 13, 2016, the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter advising schools receiving federal financial assistance of their obligations under a federal law (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) regarding transgender students. The letter warns schools that "they have a responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, including transgender students," and that a failure to do so may lead to loss of federal financial assistance under federal programs.

The letter addresses restrooms and locker rooms as follows: "A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity. A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so. A school may, however, make individual-user options available to all students who voluntarily seek additional privacy."

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

View All
from our store
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Did you know pastors and other church staff may be required by law to report child abuse and that laws on this vary state by state?
Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Church Issues: Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Identity

Richard Hammar combines research and analysis to take you through a step-by-step process regarding public accommodations laws.
Politics and the Church

Politics and the Church

Tax and legal guidelines faith-based organizations need to know before jumping into the political fray.
ChurchSalary

Receive a customized salary report for up to 18 different ministry positions. Learn how your church should compensate based on size, budget, location, and employee work experience.