The Trump Administration is rescinding guidelines that instructed schools to treat transgender students “consistent with the student’s gender identity” when it came to access to restrooms and other facilities.
The Washington Blade reports the Justice and Education Departments are sending a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools today that will undo an order issued by President Obama.
“This is the first day of the President’s second month in office and he is now fully coming after LGBT people,” the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Mara Keisling told the Blade. “I’m angry; I’m outraged. This is about kids who just want to go to school who just want to be themselves, and to hear the president a week or two ago talk about how supportive he is of LGBT people, it’s just outrageous that he go after trans kids this way.”
Asked about the situation, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump “has maintained for a long time this is a state’s rights issue.”
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) February 21, 2017
Obama’s order, which asserted that Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination in education includes trans students, resulted in numerous lawsuits from states not wishing to respect it. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a preliminary injunction last year barring enforcement, and the Obama administration initially tried to limit the scope of O’Connor’s ruling. But the Justice Department withdrew that motion last week.
LGBT employees in the Department of Education pleaded with DeVos to keep Obama’s safeguards in place.
“At a time when students and individuals across the nation are being targeted with overtly discriminatory treatment, our nation needs you to remind and empower students about their right to equal access to education,” the staffers wrote in an email obtained by the AP.
“We look forward to partnering with you in this very important work and hope that as a ’door open type of person,’ you will open your office to hear from both your LGBTQ staff and the LGBTQ families our Department serves.”
In her confirmation hearing, DeVos told Sen. Al Franken “I fully embrace equality and I believe in the innate value of every single human being and that all students, no matter their age, should be able to attend a school and feel safe and be free of discrimination.”
Next month, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a Virginia trans student suing his high school to use the restroom consistent with his gender identity.