Texas Judge Blocks Obama’s Directive on Transgender Student Bathroom Use

By  | 

Just in time for the first day of school for many kids, Federal Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas announced that he is blocking the Obama administration’s directive that allows transgender students to choose whichever bathroom is consistent with their gender identity.

This means schools will face no consequences if they do not accommodate bathroom or locker room options for transgender students. The blocking of the order will apply nationwide for the time being.

The government’s bathroom directive became official in May after the Justice Department sued North Carolina over its bathroom bill, HB2, which prohibited people from using bathrooms that do not correspond with the sex on their birth certificate. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch compared North Carolina’s policies to racial segregation.

On August 12, Texas and 12 other states filed a lawsuit against the government at a hearing in Fort Worth, saying the bathroom rules are unconstitutional and complaining they would loose billions of dollars if they do not follow the rules. The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, called Obama’s “illegal federal overreach” and said to Associated Press:

This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform. That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect states and school districts.

But the Obama administration disagreed and argued earlier this year that the bathroom guidelines are non-binding and have no legal consequences.

Even though the government never explicitly said that schools need to follow the bathroom rules to not lose their funding, it was implied in court documents that stated the schools that get federal funding ”are clearly on notice that anti-discrimination polices must be followed.”

Judge O’Connor also claimed that existing laws that require schools to not discriminate people on the basis of sex do not apply to transgender students since “the plain meaning of the term sex meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”

Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at



Send this to friend