Chicago Public Schools Have A New Transgender-Friendly Bathroom Policy

By Mae Rice in News on May 3, 2016 7:05PM

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The new policy doesn't quite mandate this, but it's a start. (Photo via AlexLMX on Shutterstock)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has introduced a new policy that specifically allows transgender students, teachers and adults to use the bathroom that best aligns with their gender identity, school officials announced Monday. The regulations also allow students to use the locker rooms and overnight trip accommodations that best suit their gender identity.

“The guidelines released today will help ensure every student and adult in the CPS family can participate in an environment of complete tolerance and respect,” CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a statement, adding that CPS has become "far more aware" of transgender issues in recent years, and hopes to reflect that in this policy.

The new policy specifies that transgender people who request alternate, more private bathroom, locker room or field trip accommodations from CPS must receive them. It further requires schools to provide accommodation and support to gender non-binary students, and students questioning their gender identity.

The new regulations piggyback on a CPS policy implemented in 2014. That was essentially a non-discrimination policy, mandating that transgender and gender nonconforming students receive the same opportunities in PE, sexual health, sports, and clubs as any other student.

Springfield is currently considering a bill that would void this policy, though, and require every multi-student bathroom at schools to be reserved for one birth gender.

As activists with the Chicago Restroom Access Project previously explained to Chicagoist, having to use the bathrooms that aligns with their birth genders can create health and safety issues for transgender people.