Victory for transgender students over Arkansas University toilet facilities
The ladies’ toilets at Arkansas University are now open to anyone who identifies as female, following a letter from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
The move comes following a complaint from transgender student Jennifer Braly, who was banned from the ladies’ and was forced to use gender-neutral or unisex facilities.
Reports state a letter from the DOJ prompted the university to change their policies, but the DOJ said it was merely following up a complaint from a student and did not push for a policy change.
“The department followed its general practice and contacted the university when it received a complaint from an undergraduate student that alleged that the university had discriminated against her based on sex,” the DOJ said.
“Consistent with our standard practice of notifying schools in writing that the department has received a complaint, the department simply advised the university that it was reviewing the complaint to determine whether there had been a violation of the federal laws enforced by the department that prohibit sex discrimination.”
Ms Braly has previously sued the university on grounds of discrimination after her lectures were cancelled and students complained about being taught by a transgendered speaker. She has given around 20 guest lectures on gender identity to psychology and sociology students, after undergoing gender reassignment surgery aged 36.
Using the ladies’ toilet is only one of the victories won by Ms Braly on campus – she is now also allowed to enter the campus housing lottery, providing she tells any prospective roommates she is transgender.
A decision has not yet been made as to whether the university’s policies on toilet facilities were in violation of federal law.