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DOJ withdraws federal protections on transgender bathrooms

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The Trump administration on Wednesday lifted Obama-era federal guidelines that protect transgender students in public school bathrooms and locker rooms.

Last May, under the Obama administration, the departments of Justice and Education told public school districts and colleges that receive federal funding that it interprets “sex discrimination” under Title IX, a federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, to include claims based on gender identity.

In a two-page “Dear Colleague” letter to public schools, the Trump administration said the existing guidance did not “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”

The letter — which does not offer new guidance but simply withdraws the Obama administration policy — says there must be “due regard” for the role of states and local school districts in shaping education policy in schools.

A Statement from Councilmember Matt Haag on the Trump Administration’s Attack Transgender Rights:

“Yesterday, the City of Rochester reaffirmed that our city is a place where diversity is celebrated, inclusion is valued and acceptance is cheered. When people question why we took the step of updating our 30-plus year status as a Sanctuary City and specified gender identity and expression in our resolution, today offers one more reason we needed to affirm that our community values all people.  The Trump administration’s steps to roll back the basic rights of transgender students to be protected in their schools by allowing students to use bathrooms associated with their identified gender is a deeply painful decision. This reversal stands in direct contrast to our city and its values, it promotes bigotry, division and fear. Kids should never have to fear their government or their schools. I want the residents of Rochester to know that we have already taken steps to affirm the rights of transgender citizens and visitors by including language to protect gender identity and expression in our City’s non-discrimination policy. I, along with my colleagues on City Council, will fight this rollback of civil rights and common decency.”

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s decision to rescind anti-discrimination protections for transgender students is yet another cruel move by an administration committed to divisive policies that roll back the clock on civil rights.

Transgender individuals deserve to live in dignity, without fear of bullying or discrimination.

I will do whatever it takes to protect transgender and all LGBTQ New Yorkers, no matter what happens in Washington. That’s why my office will ensure that Title IX and New York’s own civil rights protections are enforced — because policies that ensure equality also promote safe and inclusive schools, workplaces, and communities, benefiting everyone.”

Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC) Coordinator Kesi Foster issued the following statement on behalf of UYC’s member organizations:

“For schools to provide nurturing and supportive learning environments for all students we must have policies in place that recognize and protect the dignity and humanity of all young people. Rolling back the guidelines passed by the Obama administration is the clearest signal this Department of Education is not going to protect the civil rights of transgender youth. All young people deserve safe spaces in their schools and the Department of Education and Department of Justice have a responsibility to address discrimination, not turn their backs on our most vulnerable youth.

“During the campaign, Trump made statements to reassure the LGBTQ community he would support and protect gay and transgender rights, but today’s announcement shows he plans to do no such thing. We urge Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña to maintain and strengthen the city’s current guidelines protecting transgender youth in order to create truly safe spaces for transgender students in New York City schools. We must respond to this hateful and discriminatory federal action with even stronger local action grounded in compassion and understanding.” 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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