The Trump administration reportedly plans to scale back on a controversial administrative rule enacted by the Obama administration that permitted transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
According to the Washington Blade, President Donald Trump has approved a plan with the Justice Department and Education Department to send a letter to schools rescinding the guidance enacted by the previous administration.
"This is the first day of the president’s second month in office and he is now fully coming after LGBT people," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality told the Washington 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."
Keisling said she heard of the Trump administration's plans from "reliable sources," but White House spokesperson Kelly Love equivocated on the alleged changes, noting that she had "nothing to add to this report right now" but would "keep [the Washington Blade] posted if anything changes."
Former White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at the time that the White House issued the guidance in a response to parents, teachers and students nationwide as school administrators were more concerned with preventing "discrimination" against its students than partisan politics.
As the Washington Blade reported, Trump promised nearly a year ago on the campaign trail that he would rescind the Obama administration's transgender directive but promised to still "protect all people."
And as Trump criticized laws that would bar people from using the restroom which corresponds with their gender identity while on the campaign trail, multiple social conservatives criticized the then-Republican presidential candidate.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said he hoped Trump's criticism of a controversial North Carolina bathroom bill would be an opinion that he would change.
"Hopefully, that will be another one of the positions that he’ll change," Gohmert said.
And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, also a Republican presidential candidate at the time, slammed Trump's stance on bathroom laws.
"He said he thought men should be able to go into the girls’ bathroom if they want," Cruz said at an April campaign stop. "Let me ask you, have we gone stark-raving mad? This is political correctness. This is nonsense."
Trump told the Washington Post then that the government should "protect everybody" as he was ready to learn more about transgender issues as it is "certainly an issue that's getting a lot of play and it's an issue that [he is] studying very closely," he said.
"It's a very, very small portion of the population, but as I said, you have to protect everybody, including small portions of the population," he said.
Trump also contended that the issue of transgender rights is a "people thing."
"I think we have to help people," Trump said. "I don’t view it as civil rights or not civil rights. I think it’s something where we have to help people — and hopefully the states will make the right decisions.”
Last month, the White House promised to continue to protect LGBT workers as it would keep an Obama-era executive order that proponents argued would protect the rights of those people in the workplace from discrimination.
"President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community," the White House said in a statement then. "President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election."
But even should Trump scale back on the transgender guidance greatly, Keisling told the Washington Blade that students would still be able to sue under Title IX protections if they feel as though they have been discriminated against based on their gender identity.
"It doesn’t take away trans kids’ rights," Keisling said. "It’s Title IX that protects us, not Donald Trump or Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions agreeing with us on Title IX."
While the text of Title IX does not on its face include a specific right to sue based on gender identity, the Department of Education has since clarified to ensure that gender discrimination is, indeed, prohibited under the law. However, it is unclear how a court would rule if asked to pass on whether such a right is contained within Title IX if, indeed, the Trump administration decides to roll back the Department of Education guidance on that issue.
President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin told the Washington Blade:
Transgender young people face tragically high rates of discrimination and bullying, and they need a government that will stand up for them — not attack them. It’s shocking that this kind of harm would even be a subject of debate for the president. We call on Trump to immediately and permanently affirm the Obama Administration’s guidance and protect transgender students.
(H/T: Washington Blade)