February 23, 2017
Democrats on Wednesday decried the Trump administration’s rollback of a regulation extending certain protections to America’s transgender students.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Education issued new guidance late Wednesday rescinding the Obama-era rules, citing a need to further consider their legal ramifications.
The Obama-era guidelines required public schools to allow students to use bathrooms and other facilities that correspond to their gender identities.
The Trump administration said that schools still must ensure that LGBT students are safe from bullying and discrimination, but questioned whether the transgender directive was justified by Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.
Democrats were quick to jump on the decision.
“No student should face discrimination at school because of who they are,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “Transgender students have the same right to a safe environment at school and in their community as everyone else.”
“Withdrawing the historic guidance from the Obama Administration to protect transgender students is a cruel blow to an already vulnerable group of young people,” she added.
“This move shows President Trump cannot be trusted to defend the rights of LGBT Americans. This is not a state issue. This is an issue of equality for all.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted that Wednesday’s move “is just plain wrong & cuts directly across the drive for equality.”
Senate Democrat Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) also panned the Trump administration’s decision on Twitter Wednesday.
“Every student, no matter their gender identity, should feel welcome in school,” he wrote. “We must do more, not less, to achieve this goal.”
“Trump’s decision to subject transgender kids to bigotry in the name of ‘states’ rights’ marks a major setback in the fight for civil rights,” Durbin said in a second tweet.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) tweeted that the new guidance is “an appalling decision that targets kids because of who they are.”
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted that the decision shows Trump “thinks LGBT stands for ‘Let’s Go Back in Time.’”
“He’s wrong,” Markey wrote. “We stand with the transgender community in fight to defend progress.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called the measure an “absolutely shameful reversal of progress in civil rights & equality for transgender students.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) additionally condemned the new guidance on Facebook, vowing his state would keep protection for transgender students in place.
“Washington state will continue to be a place where all children can feel safe from discrimination, harassment or assault based on their gender identity,” he said.
“We will continue to stand together to protect some of our most vulnerable students — we know these young people face high rates of bullying, harassment and even violence.”
Religious conservatives opposed the Obama-era guidelines, arguing that students should use the bathrooms that match their sex assigned at birth and that rules otherwise are improper social engineering.