AHF Urges Florida Governor Rick Scott and Education Chancellor Pam Stewart to Require School Districts to Comply with Federal Guidance on Transgender Students

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of
Education’s (ED) May 13
th “dear colleague”
letter issues guidance on Title IX compliance to school’s receiving
federal assistance.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) today strongly urged Florida Governor
Rick Scott and Florida Department of Education Chancellor Pam Stewart to
require schools to comply with federal guidance regarding the treatment
of transgender students. In response to the recent rash of so called
“bathroom bills” that have emerged from state legislatures on the heels
of nationally recognized same-sex marriage, the Obama administration
issued guidance to public schools on May 13th that delineate
specific obligations of schools to maintain an environment free of
discrimination against students on the basis of sex, including
transgender students, as stipulated under Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972. Compliance with Title IX requires that schools allow
transgender students to “participate in such activities and access
such facilities consistent with their gender identity
,” including
facilities like locker rooms and restrooms.

“Conservative state legislatures are, yet again, aiming to undermine
LGBT equality, this time with these cruel and senseless ‘bathroom bills,’
while shamelessly using the pretext of advocating for privacy,” said
Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “AHF
denounces any such proposed legislation in Florida. We are poised to
fight against all forms of illegal discrimination, especially policies
that threaten the public health, and we stand firmly with the
transgender community.”

According to published
reports
, “Social conservatives, angered by the federal
government’s ‘guidance’ that school districts should allow transgender
students to use restrooms and other facilities of their choice, are
pressuring Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi to push back
against the initiative.
” The report further adds, “…opponents of
allowing transgender students to use restrooms that don’t conform with
their sex at birth say it could lead to a breakdown in school discipline
or even attacks, supporters say there is no evidence of that. LGBT
advocates also argue that forcing students to use restrooms that don’t
correspond to their gender identity could lead to safety problems
.”

“The Scott administration should reject calls to defy the federal
guidance,” said Michael Kahane, Chief of AHF’s Southern Bureau.
“AHF provides care to a significant patient population of transgender
individuals, and as the largest HIV health services provider in Florida,
we have found that acts of transphobia, such as the passage of bathroom
legislation, directly contribute to disproportionate rates of HIV
infection in the transgender community. Transphobia is learned, and it
must not be taught to our children through the segregation and exclusion
of transgender students in the school setting during primary and
secondary education.”

“There is no documented evidence to support any perceived danger of
transgender individuals violating people’s right to privacy in the
context of bathroom usage,” says David Poole, Legislative Affairs
Director for AHF. “Supporters of bathroom legislation are succumbing to
unfounded paranoia and are seeking a solution in the absence of a
problem. Regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, if an
individual in a public bathroom commits an act of violence, harassment
or exhibits inappropriate behavior towards anyone of any age, AHF fully
supports prosecuting that individual in a manner commensurate with the
offense. There are already laws on the books for this. Preventing
transgender people from using the bathroom does nothing to promote
privacy or safety. It only strips transgender people of their dignity.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
500,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Imara Canady
Regional
Director, Communications and Community Engagement, AHF Southern Bureau
+1.404.870.7789
work
+1.954.952.0258 mobile
imara.canady@aidshealth.org
or
Ged
Kenslea

Senior Director, Communications, AHF
+1.323.308.1833
work
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher
Johnson

Associate Director of Communications, AHF
+1.323.960.4846
work
+1.310.880.9913 mobile
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org