Civil rights groups are angry; kids are scared.
When Barack Obama issued a directive last year telling schools across the United States to allow transgender students to use whichever restroom they felt most comfortable with, the LGBTQ community and civil rights leaders celebrated. Children who had been bullied for the simple act of using the bathroom breathed a sigh of relief, while conservatives huffed and puffed about the safety and privacy of gender conforming kids.
Now, in a stunning blow to transgender rights, Donald Trump has reversed the Obama administration’s directive, saying transgender bathroom policy should be decided by individual states, not the federal government. “The … decision made today by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education … paves the way for an open and inclusive process to take place at the local level with input from parents, students, teachers and administrators,” read a statement from the White House.
According to the UCLA’s School of Law’s Williams Institute, there are approximately 150,000 transgender youth between the ages of 13 and 17 in the United States. Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, is not clear on whether or not that protection extends to gender identity. With last year’s directive, the Obama administration sent a clear message that it did apply to gender; the Trump administration has rescinded that message, setting transgender rights back in the US and infuriating civil rights leaders, as well as anyone who cares about the safety and welfare of children.
In response, the hashtag #wejustneedtopee is trending again on Twitter; here are just a couple of today’s best tweets:
— Jennifer Estrada 🌹 (@jennesworld) February 23, 2017
— Kole Hillman (@kolehillman) February 23, 2017
Many states will continue to extend full rights to transgender students, allowing them to choose which bathroom they’ll use, but others will certainly employ this new action by Trump to discriminate against kids and force them to use restrooms where they do not feel safe. And so once again, the American people have proof that when we elected Trump, we elected a monster.
Image via Shutterstock.