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What White House guidance on transgender access to school restrooms means for CA

The so-called
The so-called "bathroom battle" erupted after North Carolina in March became the first US state to require transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings that match the sex on their birth certificate, rather than the gender by which they identify.

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Today the Obama Administration announced that all schools must allow transgender students to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.

The move comes amid a legal fight with North Carolina over its law (House Bill 2) which says people must use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates.

Brad Sears, Executive Director of The Williams Institute at UCLA Law, joined Take Two to explain what the White House's message to schools means for California.

Interview highlights:

What does the guidance say?

It's from the Department of Justice and from the Department of Education and I think it really helps clarify what former guidance and case law has pretty clearly already established which is that transgender students are entitled to be safe and secure at schools. And that includes being able to use all facilities and programs consistent with their gender identity.

Is it enforceable? 

It's enforceable in two ways. First of all when an individual student or the student's parents bring a lawsuit because the student's been discriminated against, courts will defer to this guidance. The second is that this is tied to federal funding. There's been a lot of talk about federal funding for North Carolina in light of HB 2, and I think this is the federal government saying if you are accepting federal dollars, your programs and facilities have to be open to all students.

What does this mean for schools in California?

I think California can be proud that it's been a leader on this issue. The great thing about this guidance is it's not only here what you need to do, it's here's how to do it, and there's an attachment with a lot of specific policies that school districts around the country can use. LA Unified's policy is set up as an example, a couple of other California cities, and California passed a statute that basically required everything that this guidance requires in 2013.

To listen to the full interview, click the blue player above.