Metro Weekly

Lawmakers urge Trump to reverse stance on trans student protections

Log Cabin Republicans also urges reversal, promising to provide conservative solutions to resolve issue

President Donald Trump at CPAC 2017, Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A bipartisan coalition of congressional lawmakers has submitted a letter urging President Trump to reverse a recent decision rescinding Obama-era guidance that allowed transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.

“Title IX provides transgender students the right to equal treatment in accordance with their gender identity,” the letter reads. “Unfortunately, rescinding this guidance only serves to confuse school administrators and take away a vital tool for students and their families who want to be treated with dignity and respect.

“Further, this action sends the wrong message — a very dangerous message — to transgender youth and their peers. For these reasons, we urge you to reverse your decision and reinstate the Title IX guidance.”

The letter, signed by 122 lawmakers from both parties, also asks President Trump to meet with transgender students and their families to hear about their concerns about bullying, harassment, and how they are treated by school administrators. The letter is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, PFLAG, Transgender Law Center, and the Center for American Progress.

The Trump administration has defended its decision to reverse the Obama-era guidance, arguing that decisions over which facilities transgender students can access is a decision best made at a state or local level. They also reject the interpretation that Title IX, which prohibits discrimination ‘on the basis of sex,’ applies to people who do not conform to traditional gender stereotypes — calling the Obama administration’s support of that interpretation “overreach.” Instead, they, like many conservatives, maintain sex discrimination only applies to those who are treated unfairly because of their assigned sex at birth.

Another group submitting a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for the reinstatement of protections for transgender students is the Log Cabin Republicans. The letter was drafted and signed by four transgender members of LCR, and a Republican parent of a transgender child. In that letter, LCR promised to provide the Trump administration with a detailed list of conservative solutions that it could consider that would balance transgender student protections with addressing concerns over the more controversial parts of the Obama guidance.

“It is imperative that the Trump Administration and, specifically, the Departments of Justice and Education act to ensure that any future directives or guidance regarding access to school facilities are not inhibited in any way that would harm transgender youth or impede upon their ability to receive an education,” the letter concludes.

“Last week while liberals were howling at the heavens, Log Cabin Republicans had our heads down working to develop common-sense conservative solutions to protect transgender students,” Log Cabin President Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement. “Not only is the Log Cabin Republicans’ response to this issue coming from the center-right, it’s coming directly from our transgender members — in other words, the people who understand this issue the most.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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