Trump Administration on the Verge of Rescinding Guidance Protecting Transgender Students

By Adam Polaski • February 21, 2017 • 3:44 pm
Reports out of the White House indicate the Trump Administration is on the verge of rescinding federal guidelines that help protect transgender students from discrimination. White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated at a press conference today that President Donald Trump was close to making a decision on the matter, noting that the President believes matters of equal protection for transgender students should be left up to the states.
The guidelines that the Trump Administration is poised to do away with were issued in May 2016 when the Departments of Education and Justice held that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972—which prohibits sex-based discrimination—applied to transgender students as well.

Freedom for All Americans’ executive director Matt McTighe issued the following statement:

“President Trump has said that he wants to be supportive of LGBTQ rights – and preserving guidance that affirms the dignity and equality of transgender youth is certainly an important way he can make good on his promise. This guidance reflects the best practices that many school districts across the country have taken for years, with the aim of ensuring transgender students can participate fully and succeed in school, just like everyone else.

These protections are incredibly important to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of transgender students. Three-quarters of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school because of bullying and harassment that is directed at them because of their gender identity. And nearly two-thirds say they avoid using restrooms at school because they fear it will put them in a dangerous situation.

McTighe continued: “Transgender kids already face heightened levels of discrimination and harassment in schools. Frankly, rescinding this guidance demonstrates a disdain for the welfare of transgender youth that directly contradicts President Trump’s previous statements on equality. We strongly urge President Trump to consider the transgender students and their families who will be impacted by the actions of his Departments of Justice and Education before proceeding any further down this path.”

The guidelines were based on growing legal precedent and instructed schools to allow transgender students access to restrooms that align with their gender identity. To date, dozens of school districts across the country that educate millions of students have implemented these protections and the reality is that Title IX requires equal treatment for transgender students. However, without this guidance, schools will face confusion, and vulnerable transgender youth, who already face exponentially more bullying from their peers, will be caught in the middle.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the historic transgender equality case G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board on March 28. The case is being brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Virginia transgender boy named Gavin Grimm. Grimm is challenging a policy in his local school district that singles out transgender students for discrimination and prohibits him from using the boys’ restroom at his school. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Gavin last year. It is the first-ever case on transgender rights to go before the Supreme Court.

In light of this legal reasoning and in recognition of the severe effects rescinding these guidelines will have on transgender students, Freedom for All Americans urges the Trump Administration to retain this non-binding guidance that protects the safety and affirms the dignity of transgender students across the country.

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