In a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney Gen. Leslie Rutledge, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Rita Sklar urged state leadership to follow the law when it comes to access to restrooms in public schools.
The law has been established for years that barring a student from single-sex facilities or activities based on that student’s gender identity because he or she is transgender constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title IX. It is per se sex discrimination because this differential treatment is based on the student’s gender transition; it is also impermissible sex stereotyping because the student is being denied access based on a failure to conform to gender stereotypes.
Barring transgender students from gender-appropriate facilities and activities also implicates students’ federal constitutional rights and statutory rights under Arkansas law. The constitutional right to privacy has long protected the right to control the nature and extent of highly personal information released about that individual. Students have a constitutional right to keep private information about their sexual orientation or gender identity absent a compelling, lawful reason.