Trump Administration Attempts to Rescind Protections for Transgender Students
February 22, 2017, one week after Jeff Sessions appointment to U.S. Attorney General, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education issued a letter rescinding Obama-era guidelines interpreting Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
These guidelines from the Obama Administration were critical to transgender students across the United States, as they provided guidance on the treatment of transgender students in schools. The guidelines detailed that transgender students are allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity; that they should be called by their preferred names and pronouns; and it offered guidance on privacy, confidentiality, anti-bullying and other issues affecting LGBTQ students. Although non-binding, the guidelines made it clear that guidance violation could result in a loss of federal funding.
It should also be noted, however, that today’s revocation of the guidelines is also non-binding. Activists and civil rights attorneys say that transgender students remain protected under Title IX of federal law. Title IX still protects transgender students from sex discrimination in schools and activities, this is the very subject up for debate in a forthcoming supreme court case. Gavin Grimm, a Virginia high school student is suing his school for claims of discrimination by refusing to allow him access to the boys’ bathroom. In 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor and now the decision is up again for appeal.
The revocation of this important guidance is an expected move from this Administration. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump both have made statements regarding the government’s position on whether transgender students should get to use the bathroom of their choice. Their stance is that the “issue [is] best [re]solved at the state and local level. For now, we must wait and see what the court decides on the issue.
For more information and help contact:
- Hotlines: The Trevor Project (866) 488-7386
- Trans LifeLine (877) 565- 8860
- Campaign for Southern Equality Mapping system: report harassment, violence and discrimination https://lgbthumanrights.crowdmap.com/
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