The Trump administration is preparing to rescind President Obama’s federal guidance that protected transgender students.
The guidance, which was issued back in May 2016, directed schools to protect transgender students’ rights to use facilities that corresponded with their gender identity in accordance with Title IX sex discrimination rules. In August, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor (R) issued an injunction suspending the guidelines and the Justice Department filed an appeal in October. The appeal was set to be heard last Tuesday, however the Trump administration put a stop to it.
News of the pending policy change prompted swift reactions form many transgender organizations such as the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Such clear action directed at children would be a brazen and shameless attack on hundreds of thousands of young Americans who must already defend themselves against schoolyard bullies, but are ill-equipped to fight bullies on the floors of their state legislatures and in the White House,” said Executive Director of NCTE, Mara Keisling
On Tuesday, Whitehouse spokesperson Sean Spicer announced that the Education and Justice Departments would soon be issuing new guidance while also indicating they would want to hand the issue over to the individual states. “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,” Spicer said.
The move could have an unfavorable impact on the case of Gavin Grimm, which is heading to the Supreme Court at the end of March. Grimm had won his case in a lower court ruling that was based on Obama’s federal guidelines. It also confirms fears that many LGBT people held that the Trump administration would have a discriminatory agenda against their communities. It also means more discourse over the nomination of new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who will be forced to uphold any new rules that are in place. “I embrace equality, and I firmly believe in the intrinsic value of each individual, and that every student should have the assurance of a safe and discrimination-free place to become educated,” DeVos had said during her confirmation hearing. It appears she left off the part at the end that said, “Unless you are transgender.”