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Obama Administration Working to Protect Transgender Students

[Photo; Flickr, Ted Eytan]

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In the midst of a legal battle with North Carolina over transgender rights, the Obama administration is taking action to end discrimination against transgender people. Obama sent a letter today to every public school district in the country telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. 

Luba Cortes is a youth organizer for the New York City-based organization Make the Road New York. While the city already has laws that protect transgender students, she says the letter is a part of history. 

"We want students to feel safe. We want them to feel they belong," Cortes says. "We want them to express themselves the way they are. This is not only going to allow that but will create a path for other conversations to happen."

The letter provides guidelines for how schools should make their transgender students feel more comfortable. But Cortes says it is just a stepping stone.

"This is only for public schools," Cortes says. "There's still institutions such as private schools, colleges, and public spaces that do not have gender-neutral restrooms, where there's still discrimination that is going to happen."

While the letter doesn't have any legal impact, it states schools could lose federal aid if they choose to discriminate.