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Debate about rest rooms, locker rooms can be sticking point on transgender policy, researcher says

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

LAWRENCE — Federal education officials have ruled an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws by not allowing a transgender student who identifies as female to use the girls' locker room without restrictions.

A University of Kansas researcher who studies policies surrounding transgender rights is available to discuss the case in Palatine, Illinois.

Don Haider-Markel, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, is co-editor of the book "Transgender Rights and Politics: Groups, Issue Framing & Policy Adoption." C-SPAN's book TV in a May segment featured the research.

Haider-Markel said the transgender movement often faces a steeper hill to climb than the broader gay and lesbian movement as far as trying to see transgender rights and anti-discrimination laws passed. Often issues behind use of restrooms and locker rooms become a sticking point for politicians in a debate over certain policies, he said.

"Even amongst the advocates for anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation, it makes them politically uncomfortable because they don't want to risk losing a whole host of other achievements by trying to include transgender rights," he said.

To arrange an interview with Haider-Markel, contact George Diepenbrock at gdiepenbrock@ku.edu or 785-864-8853.

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