Donald Trump’s administration on February 22nd withdrew former president Barack Obama’s era guidance on letting transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice.
Last May, the Obama administration sent what’s called a “Dear Colleague” letter to school districts. The letter made clear that the administration was interpreting Title IX, a law to stop discrimination on the basis of sex in schools, to include transgender students. The letter stated that all K-12 school districts in the country “must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.” The Trump administration revoked that guidance. This does not change the law, but it does give states and districts more flexibility in their interpretation of Title IX and how they chose to accommodate transgender students.
This is not just about bathrooms. Title IX also covers access to single-sex facilities like locker rooms and the right to participate in sports. The Obama administration’s guidance also spelled out other steps that schools should take to avoid discrimination like allowing all students to attend prom or graduation in the clothing that makes them feel the most comfortable. The American Academy of Pediatrics stated, “Transgender children are already at increased risk for violence, bullying, harassment and suicide. They may be more prone to depression and engaging in self-harm. Policies excluding transgender youth from facilities consistent with their gender identity have detrimental effects on their physical and mental health, safety, and well-being.”
Davey Mobley states that “Allowing transgender individuals access to public restrooms that match with their gender identity are hugely important. It’s little things like this that make a trans person feel more accepted. When Trump repealed that law it was a personal blow. I pray that one day he will see the error of his way and put the law back in place, giving basic human rights to people like me.”
By: Camryn Hipwell