Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Aug. 21 issued a preliminary injunction on the Obama administration's interpretation of Title IX, a federal law which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in schools, colleges and universities that receive federal money, CNN reports.
The judge said the law is "not ambiguous" and specifically allows schools to provide separate toilets, locker rooms, and showers on the basis of sex, as long as the facilities are comparable.
He said the response to the federal guidance "presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students' rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school."
The federal guidance from the Department of Justice and Department of Education was announced in a May 13 letter sent to all school districts. The guidance tells every public school in the country to allow students who identify as transgender to use the facilities – including restrooms and locker rooms – that match their "gender identity." It says that a student's gender identity must be treated as his or her biological sex for the purposes of law.
The guidance included a 25-page document of emerging practices, which may also affect sex-segregated athletics.
Although the federal guidance does not have the force of law, it implicitly threatens schools that do not comply with lawsuits or a loss of federal aid, according to the New York Times.