Maine Commission Shelves Move to Ban Gender Specific Bathrooms, Sports Teams in Schools

The Maine Human Rights commission appears to be backing off of a proposal to ban schools from enforcing gender divisions in sports teams, school organizations, bathrooms and locker rooms.

After reported last week on the commission’s draft guidelines for how schools should accommodate transgender students, members decided Monday to cancel a public hearing on the issue and indefinitely postpone its work on the brochure entitled “Sexual Orientation in Schools and Colleges.”

“They made a decision not to move forward at this time with the guidance,” Patricia Ryan, executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission, told the Bangor Daily News. “They are feeling that they want some time. There are cases coming before them and they want to figure out the best way to receive public input.”

Ryan and Commission Counsel John Gause did not return e-mails and phone calls from regarding the decision.

The commission came under fire over the brochure after holding a meeting last month to vote on the guidelines where the public was not allowed to speak.

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After angry Mainers voiced their opinions anyway, the commission voted instead to hold a public hearing in May so all sides could be heard.

But with no date set for the hearing, critics insisted the commission didn’t want to hear about the possible negative impacts of the proposal, which said students ranging from nursery school to post-doctorate could not be required to supply any documentation to prove they were transgender before being allowed to enter the bathroom, locker room, sports team or organization of their choice.

"The reality is, every day we’re seeing more and more cases of exploitation of children and others, and this would be creating an environment where the risk is increased for that exploitation," Ken Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services, told

Now it appears, even without the hearing they’ve caught the commission’s attention, which, according to the Daily News, appeared to unanimously agree that work on the proposal should be halted, for now.