Trump Pulls Federal Protections for Transgender Students

Nora Cooper

Trump Pulls Federal Protections for Transgender Students

Wednesday night, the Trump administration withdrew protections for transgender students

that let them use bathrooms and facilities in public schools that correspond with their gender

identities.

The Obama administration enforced the protections last May after the departments of

Education and Justice issued joint guidance directing schools to let transgender students use

facilities that correspond with their gender identities.

The question of how to address this debate opened a rift inside the Trump administration,

pitting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms.

DeVos to relent. After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he

could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general and told

DeVos that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And DeVos, faced with the alternative of

resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along.

Ms. DeVos’s said she considered it a “moral obligation” for every school in America to protect

all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

The Education Secretary said that she had directed the Education Department’s Office for Civil

Rights to investigate any claims of such treatment “against those who are most vulnerable in

our schools,” but also argued that bathroom access was not a federal matter.

LGBT rights supporters made their stands clear as they held protests outside the White House.

Individual schools will remain free to let trans students use the bathroom of the gender they

identify with, and the effect of the administration’s decision will not be immediate because a

federal court had already issued a nationwide injunction barring enforcement of Obama’s

order.