New Rule Gives Transgender People the Right to Use the Federal Bathroom That Matches Their Gender Identity

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Good policy.
Good policy.Photo: Sara D. Davis

The Obama administration hasn’t exactly been shy about expressing its support for the transgender community. In May it introduced sweeping guidelines designed to protect transgender students from discrimination in all public schools, and the Justice Department has stated that North Carolina’s law (which requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their birth gender) violates transgender citizens’ civil rights.

Now, the current administration is set to introduce a rule that guarantees transgender bathroom access in federal buildings. According to BuzzFeed, which obtained a draft of the new rule, it covers not only people who work in government facilities (an estimated 1 million) but anyone who enters those facilities, which include courthouses, social security offices, and prisons. All told, the rule will reportedly effect 9,200 properties across the country owned by the General Services Administration.

“We wanted to make clear that a person can use facilities that match their gender identity, and we think that’s a good thing,” said Ashley Nash-Hahn, a GSA spokeswoman. And although the rule, as activist Mara Keisling points out, is pretty unsurprising, it cements the Obama administration’s commitment to the transgender community.