The response to the Trump administration’s reversal of some Obama-era transgender rights prompted swift and sharp rebukes from LGBT rights groups and advocates on Wednesday night.
A directive given by former President Barack Obama last year granted transgender students the choice to use public school restrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. Without the directive, states and school districts will now have to decide whether to grant those protections to transgender students.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions laid out his reasoning for the reversal, accusing the Obama administration of not being clear about its intentions: “The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX.”
Title IX bans sex discrimination in education. But it remains unsettled whether Title IX protections extend to a person’s gender identity.
LGBT rights advocates argue that protections are necessary to shield trans students from discrimination. The Human Rights Campaign found 51% of LGBTQ youth had been verbally harassed at their school.
Here’s how people responded to the Trump administration’s actions:
“Revoking federal protections for transgender students is an appalling decision that targets kids because of who they are. Shameful.”
“SHAME! Donald Trump has decided the biggest problem facing America was that transgender kids have civil rights?”
“Donald Trump abandons transgender students w/hateful action. We will fight for equality and protect trans kids.”
“I vow to fight back against Trump admin’s callous decision to scrap guidelines that protect transgender students.”
“Title IX protects transgender students from abuse and discrimination. Trump Admin’s action tonight is blatantly wrong.”
“Just seeing the news about removing laws protecting trans people. This isn’t about politics. It’s about human rights, and it’s not ok.”
“As AG, I will ensure state laws protecting transgender and gender non-conforming students are enforced fairly and vigorously.”
“Trans rights are human rights. With all the progress we’ve made, suicides among LGBT youth have declined. This is no time to reverse course.”
“This decision by the Trump administration to roll back protections for transgender students is just plain wrong and cuts directly across the American drive and yearning for equality.”
Laws centered on transgender rights have sparked controversy in states nationwide. North Carolina took a financial hit of nearly $US400 million after businesses and organisations took a stand against its law that prevented local governments from protecting LGBT people with nondiscrimination ordinances.
Twelve other states have pre-filed or filed similar bills as of February 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Those states include: Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
Legislation in South Dakota and Virginia failed, the NCSL noted.
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