PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK
CONTACT: [email protected], (212) 788-2958
NEW YORK––The de Blasio Administration today announced that New York City, in collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco, and together with a coalition of 29 other municipalities across the nation, has submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the plaintiff in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. The plaintiff, a transgender teenage boy, challenges a school board’s policy requiring students to use the restrooms corresponding to their “biological genders.” He argues that the policy violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law barring sex discrimination by schools that receive federal education funding, because it prohibits him from using the school restrooms consistent with his gender identity.
“Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in their school, regardless of their gender identity. Access to bathrooms and other essential facilities is a fundamental human right that should not be restricted or denied to anyone. New York City has long been a leader in the fight for LGBTQ equality, and we are proud to stand with transgender and gender non-conforming people across the country in the fight against discrimination,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Every day, New Yorkers who identify as transgender are burdened with worry and uncertainty that they will not have the privacy for personal needs that most New Yorkers take for granted. That is not acceptable – especially when it comes to our young people. I will not stop fighting for transgender New Yorkers. It is the right thing to do and we must stand up for the rights of others, just as we safeguard our own,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Commission on Gender Equity.
“Transgender individuals are our neighbors, constituents, family and friends, and their exercise of personal freedoms only makes New York City stronger,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Under the current federal administration, these targeted attacks on the rights of transgender persons have gained a renewed legitimacy across the country. This cannot continue, and I am proud to stand with San Francisco and dozens of other municipalities in speaking out and fighting back against these abhorrent practices. We at the City Council have consistently worked to advance the rights of our transgender residents – because everyone deserves to feel safe in public spaces, whether that is in a park or a bathroom, and especially in a school.”
City Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter said, “New York and other cities have adopted local laws that guarantee transgender students the right to use the restrooms consistent with their gender identity. And despite the claims made by the school board and its supporters in this case, these inclusive policies embodied in local laws have lowered barriers to equal educational opportunity for transgender students, strengthened our school communities, and made all students safer. But history teaches that the imprimatur of federal law in enforcing fundamental civil rights is separately important and the federal government should continue to play its traditional role in protecting the civil rights of transgender students.”
“Everyone deserves the right to use the bathroom or single-sex facility consistent with their gender identity, no questions asked,” said Chair and Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “I’m proud to lead the City agency that enforces New York City’s strong anti-discrimination law protecting transgender and gender non-conforming individuals’ right to use restrooms free from discrimination. But not everyone in this country has such strong protections, which is why the U.S. Supreme Court should interpret Title IX to protect students’ right to be who they are and use the restroom consistent with their gender identity, free from discrimination.”
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said, “Students must be provided with a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment so that they can feel comfortable at school and focus on learning. In New York City public schools, that includes allowing students to use facilities that align with their gender identity and affirming their preferred pronouns – these are basic supports that all students nationwide should have. ”
The brief describes the experiences of New York City, San Francisco and other municipalities over the many years that they have had in place laws and policies protecting transgender individuals from discrimination – focusing in particular on laws and policies permitting transgender individuals in schools and other settings to use the restrooms and other single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity.
The brief explains that policies granting transgender individuals equal access to these facilities:
- Work well in practice. New York City, San Francisco and other jurisdictions allow transgender individuals to use the restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity in nearly all public settings. Their experiences with these policies have been overwhelmingly positive, both for transgender individuals and others, and the policies have proven easy to administer.
- Enhance public safety. These policies protect transgender individuals from harassment and violence when they use public facilities. The amici municipalities know firsthand that the public-safety alarms sounded by opponents of these policies are unfounded. Amici’s experiences are consistent with the judgments of police departments around the country that these policies have not resulted in more incidents of sexual assault or voyeurism.
- Increase privacy for all. Many municipalities encourage or require that reasonable alternative arrangements be provided, such as single-stall restrooms, to anyone on request, whether or not they are transgender. Increased privacy is particularly beneficial for adolescent students who may struggle with their body image.
- Remove barriers to participation in society for transgender individuals. Transgender individuals are among the most vulnerable and marginalized members of society. Without these inclusive policies, even the simple act of using a public restroom can expose a transgender individual to harassment, violence, or even arrest. This risk threatens transgender individuals’ well-being and confronts them with a continual message of exclusion. Policies guaranteeing equal access play an important role in breaking down barriers to transgender individuals’ participation in society.
The entire brief can be found here.
“The Trevor Project stands with Gavin Grimm and the thousands of transgender young people across our nation who struggle every day to simply live their lives. Research has shown a high correlation between transgender young people being denied the right to use the appropriate bathroom and suicidality. In order to protect youth and save lives we call on the Supreme Court to finally settle this Title IX issue and reaffirm the lower court’s ruling,” said Steve Mendelsohn, Interim Executive Director of The Trevor Project.