- Though Title IX, which passed in 1972, offers protections that the federal Education and Justice departments said allow transgender students a choice when it comes to school bathroom facilities, a number of state courts have ruled to the contrary.
- Last week, South Dakota's legislature approved a bill that defies federal law, ordering transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond to their "chromosomes and anatomy" at birth.
- According to the nonprofit Human Rights Campaign, 22 other states are now poised to consider similar legislation.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has been asked to veto the law by civil rights and gay rights advocates. The Republican author of the bill, state Rep. Fred Deutsch, says "federal overreach" is intruding on local control. Until federal courts make a ruling, state-level authorities will search for interpretations that fit their constituencies.
A previous attempt at the federal level by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to include a clause known as "the Student Non-Discrimination Act" within the the Every Child Achieves Act failed. The act would have helped prohibit harassment and bullying of LGBT students — a primary concern for advocates, as using a bathroom they aren't comfortable in leaves transgender students ripe for bullying.
A June 2015 report released by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found that a majority of schools lack policies that ban bullying of LGBT students, with 30% of schools lacking any anti-bullying policy. At the same time, the National Climate Survey found that more than one in three LGBT students reported physical assault. An additional third missed school due to fears for their safety.