Metro Weekly

HRC blasts Trump administration over rumors it will roll back transgender protections

DOJ and Department of Education reportedly backing away from Obama administration's interpretation of Title IX

Chad Griffin – Photo: Rex Wockner.

The nation’s top LGBTQ rights organization is taking a pre-emptive swipe at the Trump administration after news outlets reported that the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education are poised to rescind guidance that outlines schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued a statement blasting the Trump administration for backing away from protections, outlined by the Obama administration last year, that allow transgender students to be treated according to their gender identity and access restrooms and other facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

“Transgender young people face tragically high rates of discrimination and bullying, and they need a government that will stand up for them — not attack them,” Griffin said in a statement. “It’s shocking that this kind of harm would even be a subject of a debate for the president. We call on Trump to immediately and permanently affirm the Obama administration’s guidance and protect transgender students.”

LGBTQ groups are particularly concerned that the Trump administration may follow through with such an action. Recently, following the confirmation of former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, the Trump Department of Justice decided not to challenge a nationwide injunction that prevents the federal government from compelling school districts to provide transgender students with those protections or guarantee them of equal access to equal resources.

Following that action, a group of concerned parents of transgender children signed a letter pleading with the Trump administration to keep the Obama-era guidance on transgender students intact. They fear that their children will become easy targets for bullying, mistreatment, and discrimination if those protections are rescinded, with schools and administrators becoming neutral bystanders rather than advocates for transgender youth.

That said, this is not the first time that the Trump administration has been rumored to be mulling anti-LGBTQ actions, only to have those rumors proven false. For instance, Trump was expected to reverse an Obama-era executive order preventing anti-LGBTQ discrimination in federal contracting, but decided to keep those protections intact.

But the Trump administration and its supporters almost seem to enjoy watching LGBTQ groups, watching respond angrily to rumors that the White House is pushing an anti-LGBTQ agenda, and subsequently lose credibility when the Trump administration never pulls the trigger. Tellingly, Lucian Wintrich, the founder of Twinks4Trump and a member of the White House Press Corps for the right-wing site Gateway Pundit, told NBC OUT that he was on an email chain with Ivanka Trump when rumors broke about Trump reversing the Obama executive order.

“[S]he’d actually ping all of us and say, ‘Oh, this is fake news. It’s not going to happen. Don’t worry.’ And of course, none of it happened.”

Adds Wintrich: “With Betsy DeVos and with Sessions, I haven’t seen them propose any anti-gay policies, I haven’t seen them do anything within the administration to hamper LGBTQ rights, so I think these are completely unfounded worries.”

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