Lambda Legal Sues Justice Department Over Documents on Transgenders

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The Trump administration’s Justice Department is being sued — again.

This time, Lambda Legal filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday regarding Title IX. Lambda filed the suit against the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (ED).
As outlined in lawsuit’s summary: ‘This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) … to enforce the public’s right to information about Defendants’ withdrawal of guidance relating to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (“Title IX”) and transgender students. Lambda Legal seeks injunctive and other appropriate relief with respect to Defendants’ unlawful withholding of this information.’

In March, Lambda filed FOIA requests with each department regarding documents related to Title IX guidance for transgender students.

The documents include a January 2015 unpublished opinion letter by James Ferg-Cadima. He was the acting deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.

The suit claims this letter ‘reaffirmed ED’s position that Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination requires schools to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity’.

The other piece is a jointly issued document from May 2016. This served as guidance ‘to assist schools in protecting transgender students from discrimination and complying with their obligations under Title IX and its implementing regulation’.

However, in February 2017 the DOJ and ED issued a rescission letter withdrawing these documents ‘without taking a position on Title IX’.

‘To every trans student going back to school: we love you’

Lambda is now seeking documents related to this withdrawal and ordering the DOJ and ED to respond to their requests.

As the suit explains: ‘This information is important to ensuring the health and safety of transgender students. The purpose of the FOIA is to promote government transparency and accountability.’

The organization also tweeted encouraging sentiments to transgender students.

‘To every #trans kid going back to school this season: We love you. You are perfect. We are your lawyers. And we’ve got your back.’