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Michigan Education Board Approves LGBTQ Guidance for Schools

Yesterday, the Michigan Education Board approved new guidelines encouraging schools to create a more inclusive environment for their LGBTQ students, with emphasis on allowing transgender students use facilities consistent with their gender identity.

The guidelines came after an extensive public comment period, where more than 230 Michiganders gave input. The guidelines affirm that when a student’s gender identity is respected, they are more likely to learn and thrive.

The Michigan Board of Education proposed these guidelines earlier this year, triggering criticism from Republican lawmakers. At a board meeting in May, more than 100 people turned out to comment on the guidelines.

On May 13, the U.S. Department of Education offered guidance to schools clarifying that transgender students have the right to be free from discrimination in schools, including the ability to use gender-separated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) that match their gender identity. This guidance follows similar policies in states and school districts across the country, including many that have been treating transgender students with dignity and respect for more than a decade.

In August, a federal judge issued an injunction against the guidance. In Texas v. United States, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor blocked the Department of Justice from enforcing the guidance. In March of 2015, Judge O’Connor also sought to block Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights for legally married same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in United States v. Windsor (2013).

To learn more about the guidance, click here.

For more information on supporting and caring for transgender and gender-expansive children and youth, visit hrc.org/trans-youth.

HRC Welcoming Schools is a comprehensive approach to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools with resources and professional development to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping, and support transgender and gender-expansive students. To learn more, click here.