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Transgender CPS Students Can Still Use Bathrooms Of Their Gender Identity

By Heather Cherone | February 23, 2017 12:41pm

CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools students can continue use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, despite the Trump administration's decision to end federal protections for transgender students, CPS officials said Thursday.

Last May, CPS officials said CPS policies permit trans and gender non-binary students to participate in overnight field trips and take part in physical and sexual health education with groups that match their gender identity.

CPS changed its policies before the Obama administration ordered school districts to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker rooms matching their gender identities, CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said.

"CPS led the way among school districts on bathroom policies for transgender students and staff, and we have no intention of backing down no matter what President Trump does to discriminate against the LGBTQ community," Bittner said.

In an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration withdrew that ruling to "more completely consider the legal issues involved" as several cases work their way through the court system.

"This is an issue best solved at the state and local level," DeVos said. "Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students."

Sessions added that the Justice Department "remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the Trump Administration ruling and said the city remained committed to providing "equal rights to transgender residents and students."

"Chicago will stay steadfast in our commitment to fight for equality and against discrimination in all its forms," Emanuel said in a statement.

In June, the City Council banned gender-based bathroom access discrimination and blocked any effort to force anyone to show a government identification card to gain access to a bathroom, locker room or changing room.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider a case involving a transgender Virginia student in the coming months.