The Obama administration sent a powerful piece of guidance to U.S. schools today: Let students use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
The new measure is about preventing federally funded schools from violating civil rights laws, as NPR reported. Title IX, the civil rights law signed in 1972, "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity," according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
But the White House's statement is so much more than a legal victory. It could truly save the lives of countless transgender individuals.
One staggering statistic shows why.
According to disturbing new research, 60.5% of transgender people who'd been denied access to college campus bathrooms attempted suicide within their lifetime, compared to 43.2% of those who'd never been denied access to bathrooms.
In other words, transgender individuals are more likely to attempt suicide if they're not permitted to pee where they feel most comfortable.
Rates of suicide attempt are already unbelievably high. A 2014 report found that 41% of transgender and gender non-conforming people attempt suicide in their lifetime — significantly higher than the prevalence of suicide attempts among the overall U.S. population, which is 4.6%.