Jewish Groups Cheer Obama’s Transgender Protections

Amid controversy over new protections President Barack Obama has extended to transgender people, a number of Jewish groups have welcomed them.

A statement Friday from the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center praised the guidance issued the same day by the Justice and Education departments requiring that schools receiving federal funds end discrimination based on sexual identification.

“We urge all public schools to swiftly and fully comply with this directive so that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” the RAC statement said.

The guidance, which warns that failure to comply could cost schools federal money, says students must access restrooms, shower facilities and other sex-segregated areas based on their gender identity, not on their gender as recorded at birth.

A number of states and local authorities have said they will ignore the guidance; some have threatened to sue the federal government over it.

The National Council for Jewish Women said the guidance “provides needed clarity and best practices for public school districts and institutions of higher learning.”

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