Trump Rescinds Nationwide Protections for Transgender Students

Trump Rescinds Nationwide Protections for Transgender Students

Trump and Betsy DeVos show their true colors once more.

Trump and Betsy DeVos show their true colors once more.

Text: Jake Viswanath

The one argument that select Trump supporters are spouting in defense of his extremist and discriminatory actions is that he has kept his word on all of his campaign promises, for better or worse. Except, no, he hasn't.

Popular-vote-losing Trump has once again gone back on his word to protect the LGBT community by rescinding protections put in place by former President Barack Obama. Those protections allowed transgender students to use the restroom of their gender identity.

Officials from the Departments of Justice and Education denounced Obama’s position—that the law requires schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. In a joint letter, they stated that the measure was created “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” The dismantling of Obama’s actions allows states to make their own decisions regarding which bathrooms trans students must use, which puts those students in more conservative areas in danger of bullying, harassment, and simply feeling uncomfortable going to school.

Interestingly enough, problematic Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was not in favor of yesterday’s decision, according to a New York Times report, but finally agreed with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s preference to move forward with the withdrawal. She later took to Twitter and promised to continue protecting all students, stating that she has directed the Civil Rights Department to investigate “all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in ourwriters schools.”

While this is the most honorable statement she’s made since assuming the cabinet position, it’s simply not enough. Arguing that the regulation of bathrooms are a state matter does the exact opposite of what she promises to do: protect students. Putting states in this position of power with the knowledge that many will likely restrict the rights of trans students in some way leaves them at risk. These methods of investigating discrimination claims does little to actually stop them in the future, and her bowing to peer pressure to let these amendments pass is a shameful move for the Secretary of Education.

Trump’s decision to side with Sessions, who has a history of rejecting civil rights measures, on the issue also speaks volumes on the strength of his political stances and validity of his statements. He has spoken in support of trans rights several times, stating that trans people should be allowed to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” in response to North Carolina's HB2, and promising to protect all LGBT rights just last June. This is only one of the latest events that prove Trump and DeVos are absolute hypocrites, showing no accountability for their previous words or strong dedication to their beliefs. So much for serving the American people.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said it best: “This isn’t a states’ rights issue; it’s a civil rights issue.” Now we must fight in whichever way we can for the government on all levels to realize this fact.

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