- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Obama administration will announce this week a new directive granting access to intimate federal facilities on the basis of gender identity.

BuzzFeed News reported Monday that the regulation will be posted in the Federal Register at some point this week, opening up thousands of federally operated restrooms to transgender people who wish to use the facilities corresponding with their gender identity rather than biological sex.

The rule will apply to roughly 9,200 properties operated by the General Services Administration and will not be limited to employees.

GSA spokesperson Ashley Nash-Hahn said anyone visiting a federally operated property, including courthouses and various agencies, will be allowed to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

“This includes all kinds of Americans,” Ms. Nash-Hahn told BuzzFeed. “We wanted to make clear that a person can use facilities that match their gender identity, and we think that’s a good thing.”

The rule, which was circulated Aug. 8 to agency heads, states: “Federal agencies occupying space under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of GSA must allow individuals to use restroom facilities and related areas consistent with their gender identity.”

The directive builds on other orders handed down by the Obama administration integrating intimate facilities on the basis of gender identity.

The administration issued an edict in May compelling public schools nationwide to permit access to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers on the basis of gender identity.

Two coalitions of states have sued the administration over that order, saying it constitutes federal overreach and misinterprets Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in education but specifically allows intimate facilities to be regulated on the basis of biological sex.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also suing North Carolina over a state law regulating public facilities on the basis of biological sex, saying it violates Title IX and other federal legislation.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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