[JURIST] The US Department of Education ruled on Monday that the Palatine Township School District 211 [official websites] in Illinois violated federal law when it refused to provide gender-appropriate locker rooms for a transgender student. In December 2013 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal complaint [text, PDF] alleging that the school district was discriminating based on sex and sexual identity and engaging in unlawful sex stereotyping. The teenager was required [ACLU press release] to change in a separate, private area, which the ACLU said shamed and stigmatized the student. The school district argued [official statement] that it was protecting the privacy rights of all students and believes the Department of Education has not considered the best interests of all the students. If the school district does not comply with the ruling within 30 days, it risks [AP report] losing federal funding.
Transgender rights remain a controversial issue throughout the world. In September attorneys for a Maryland transgender inmate who had been subject to harsh prison conditions said that their client had won relief [JURIST report] under the Prison Rape Elimination Act, marking the first such successful challenge. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in July announced [JURIST report] a comprehensive plan to move in the direction of allowing transgender troops to serve in the military. Also in July Ireland passed the Gender Recognition Bill [JURIST report] to allow transgender people over 18 legal recognition of their preferred gender and changes in their birth certificate. In November Malaysia’s Court of Appeals in Putrajaya struck down [JURIST report] an anti-crossdressing law in a challenge filed by three transgender women. In May 2013 Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled [JURIST report] that a law prohibiting a transgender woman from marrying her boyfriend was invalid under the Chinese constitution. Canadian lawmakers approved a bill [JURIST report] in March 2013 that would outlaw discrimination against transgender individuals.