In May 2016, Texas, joined by Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, filed a federal lawsuit challenging guidance issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice recognizing that schools must be safe, respectful and nurturing environments for all students, including transgender students.
The states filed a motion that sought to block implementation of the guidance and preserve their ability to discriminate against a vulnerable group of young people — transgender elementary and high school students. The lawsuit also targets guidance addressing transgender workers. On July 27, 2016, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Texas, Transgender Law Center, and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed an amicus brief in support of the Obama administration’s guidance.
On August 21, 2016, the judge issued an order preventing the federal government from relying on its May 2016 guidance, which explained the Department of Education’s view that Title IX requires schools to permit transgender students to use the same restrooms and facilities as other students, consistent with their gender identity.
In addition to Texas and the states named above, the other plaintiffs in Texas v. United States include: Harrold Independent School District in Texas; Wisconsin; Maine Governor Paul LePage; Mississippi (through its governor); Oklahoma; Louisiana; and Utah. Named defendants include: the United States, the Departments of Justice, Education and Labor and numerous federal officials. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed on March 3, 2017, a few weeks after the Trump administration rescinded the challenged guidance previously issued by the U.S. Department of Education.