Houstonians react to transgender bathroom controversy

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Houstonians weigh in on transgender bathroom controversy. (KTRK)

With the Department of Justice and President Obama's guidance to protect transgender students, many parents and school districts are speaking out.

Crimson Davidson, 20, is a transgender man and is thankful to hear that the Obama administration is making itself clear to schools nationwide, telling them to allow students to use the restroom based on the gender identity of their choice. It's an issue still fresh in his mind from his high school days, when he says he had to ask for the key to the faculty restroom, and was often questioned by other students as to why he was using the teachers' restroom.

"I think that people think they're doing the right thing by protecting their families but I know an eight-year-old trans-girl who would like nothing better than to be able to use the restroom," said Davidson.

President Obama's letter makes it clear that federal funding is attached to compliance. Houston ISD began including gender identity in its nondiscrimination policy years ago and stated in part, "When restroom access questions arise, campus administrators are counseled to make accommodations that are aligned with the letter and spirit of the district's policy prohibiting student discrimination, harassment and retaliation."

We asked parents how they felt about the issue of shared bathrooms and locker rooms.

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Parents and schools respond to transgender bathroom controversy.

"I'm uncomfortable with it, but I don't really know a lot about it. I just don't think it's appropriate for boys to be in girls bathrooms and girls to be in boys bathrooms," said parent, Courtney Coffman.

Another parent shared an opposite viewpoint.

"I think it'll be ok, I think by the time my kids get to that age I can have that discussion with them about people being different," said Karla Epperson.

Fort Bend County ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre released this statement:

I am writing in regard to questions we are receiving about news reports that the federal Department of Education will soon be sending a letter to schools nationwide providing that Title IX obligates them to ensure that transgender students have access to sports teams, educational opportunities, and sex-segregated facilities, that correspond with their gender identity.

While these issues will likely play out in the courts for the foreseeable future, I want our community to know that the District's policies already prohibit bullying or harassment of any student, and our goal is to ensure that all students, irrespective of gender orientation, feel safe and welcome in our schools.
We currently work with transgender students and their parents on a case-by-case basis while being mindful of the need to balance their access to facilities with the privacy needs of all our students. As our current practices have served us well, we will continue to follow them.
You can trust we are dedicated to educating the District's students in a safe learning environment, even as the various political issues play out around us. FBISD is, and will continue to be an outstanding school district, with our focus on inspiring and equipping all our students to pursue futures beyond what they can imagine.
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