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Groups at Odds with Mich. AG Over Transgender Restroom Directive

Supporters say policies that promote equal restroom access for LGBTQ students help schools focus on education. (Pixabay)
Supporters say policies that promote equal restroom access for LGBTQ students help schools focus on education. (Pixabay)
July 11, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette faces some criticism for what opponents say is an attack on the rights of transgender students. Schuette added Michigan to a lawsuit on Friday involving nine other states. It attempts to block a guidance from the Obama administration promoting equal treatment of transgender students in schools, claiming the rules are unlawful.

Executive Director of Equality Michigan Stephanie White called the lawsuit a waste of time, and believes the AG should be focused on protecting the rights of all Michiganders.

"His time and all of our money would be better served if he didn't take on these kinds of losing battles that only divide us, and he should be doing the things that unite us instead," she said.

In a statement, Schuette said the intent of the lawsuit is to "protect the dignity and privacy of all Michigan students." Governor Rick Snyder declined to join the lawsuit, and Equality Michigan, Progress Michigan, and the Michigan State Board of Education are among the organizations voicing opposition.

The guidance included a measure warning that schools could lose federal funding if they do not permit transgender individuals from using restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity. White argues these are policies that have a record of success.

"These policies help kids stay in school, they help schools avoid conflict and they help everybody focus on education, because that's the bottom line, right? We want everybody to just get back to doing their math homework, and stop worrying about what name someone's using or how they dress," she added.

Earlier this year, the State Board of Education released its own guidance to make schools a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI