Human Rights Commission Will Wait On Transgender Guidelines 

Members of the Maine Human Rights Commission say they’ll wait until after a new Governor is elected before they issue new guidelines on how schools should accommodate transgendered students.Commissioner Ken Fredette brought the issue up at this morning’s meeting in Augusta. The commission cancelled a public hearing on this issue in April.Today, the commission agreed it wants to work together with the state Department of Education on the new guidelines. Pat Ryan, Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission, says they’ll need to wait until a new commissioner of education is appointed before they outline the transgender guidelines.The commission has heard three different cases involving transgender discrimination, all involving which restroom transgendered individuals would be allowed to use. “We’ve had a case in education. We’ve had a case in public accommodation and the commission has made decisions in those cases that supported the right of an individual who is transgendered to use the bathroom of the sex in which they identify,” says Ryan.One of those rulings came in the case of an Orono 5th grader who was initially allowed to use the girls’ bathroom, even though the student is biologically male. Educators later required the student to use a unisex restroom after being harassed by a male student. The commission sided with the transgender student on the bathroom issue, but also ruled the school did not create a hostile educational environment.The commission says it welcomes the public input and expects to issue new guidelines in 5 or 6 months.