Trump Administration Rescinds Transgender Student Rights
(Photo : President Donald Trump Live Supporters TV/YouTube screenshot)
Obama's administration tried to protect transgender students' rights, requiring schools to treat transgender students depending on their preferred gender identity. This means that they can have access to restrooms and locker rooms for the gender they identify with, or proved facilities if requested, as provided for under Title IX, which forbade federally funded schools from discriminating based on sex.
The Trump administration, however, is rescinding the directive. Accrding to Los Angeles Times, officials from the departments of Education and Justice said that their predecessors did not make enough of their case, citing "significant litigation."
Attorney-General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that local and state governments, as well as the Congress, could adopt "appropriate policies or laws" that could address the discrimination, bullying and harassment of the LGBT students.
The Washington Post said that a letter to schools made it clear that they must protect all students, adding that the withdrawal of Obama's guidance will not excuse bullying and harrasment. "Schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment," the letter stated. A final version is slated to be released on Wednesday.
This reversal represents a significant setback for the gay rights movement. However, this seems in line with the GOP's stand. White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday, "I think that all you have to do is look at what the president's view has been for a long time, that this is not something that the federal government should be involved in, this is a states' rights issue."
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos noted that questions regarding the transgender students should be "solved at the state and local level." She also added that the change would not affect students immediately as the guidance was blocked by a court order in Texas last August.
It will, however, instantly affect some legal cases, including that of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen who sued his school board for barring him from using the boys' bathroom. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the arguments of his case next month.