Risking lawsuits and the loss of federal funding, a Chicago school district says—with absolutely no irony—that it will continue to bar transgender students from using school locker rooms to “ensure a respectful school environment” and “protect the privacy of all students.”

Daniel E. Cates, superintendent of Township High School District 211, doubled down on the transphobic policy this week in a letter to the community after a student—who has identified as female for a number of years—sued the school’s to let her use the women’s locker room.

“After serious and lengthy consideration, the District will continue to provide private accommodations for transgender students to ensure a respectful school environment, and will not allow unrestricted access to its locker rooms as directed by OCR,” Cates writes. “Likely litigation and enforcement action, including the potential loss of federal education funds, may be imposed by the OCR.”

Federal officials reportedly ruled on the student’s complaint—which was filed with the U.S. Department of Education—finding that the school was in direct violation of the Title IX gender equality law.

But according to the Chicago Tribune, school officials don’t care and are instead offering the student two options: 1) separate-but-equal facilities or 2) nothing.

School officials and board of education members worked for months in hopes of finding an acceptable compromise, Cates said. The proposed solution, which Cates said was “quickly squelched,” required the transgender student to change and shower in private.

Transgender students also are given the option to use the locker room of the sex from which they transitioned, a district spokesman said.

“Our position is the OCR’s unilateral mandate does not consider the best interests of all District 211 students and families,” says Cates—the man risking his district’s funding for an opportunity to be on the wrong side of history.


Image via WGN. Contact the author at gabrielle@gawker.com.