LGBT groups urge Trump admin to keep trans protections

GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard
GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard is among the LGBT advocates who signed a letter urging the Trump administration to keep trans protections. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Following a signal from the U.S. Justice Department that guidance protecting transgender students may be on the chopping block, a trio of LGBT groups — as well as an LGBT-supportive women’s organization — are calling on the Trump administration to keep the policy in place.

- Advertisement -

The letter, dated Feb. 13, is addressed to newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who would be responsible for any decision to rescind the guidance.

“The Departments’ guidance documents help educational institutions understand and comply with the law,” the letter says. “Under Title IX, all forms of gender-based discrimination are prohibited unless specifically exempted by statute. This includes sexual violence, sexual harassment, and bullying and harassment based on gender. It also includes discrimination against the hundreds of thousands of students who were assigned one gender at birth but who live and attend school as another.”

The letter was signed by Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality; Nancy Duff Campbell and Marcia Greenberger, co-presidents of the National Women’s Law Center; Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN; and Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

In May, the Departments of Justice and Education under President Obama issued guidance saying schools are barred from discriminating against transgender students, including in bathroom use, under the prohibition of gender bias in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. That means schools refusing to allow transgender students to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity are at risk of losing federal funds.

But legal challenges to the guidance quickly followed, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued the Obama administration overextended its authority under Title IX. As a result, Judge Reed O’Connor placed a nationwide injunction on enforcement of the guidance, although the Obama administration appealed and requested a partial stay from the Fifth Circuit limiting the impact of the order.

Less than 48 hours after Sessions was confirmed as attorney general, the Justice Department filed a brief withdrawing its request for a partial stay on the order and is “currently considering how best to proceed in this appeal.” That could be the first indication the Trump administration intends to rescind the guidance, which was among President Trump’s anti-LGBT campaign promises.

Pointing to comments made by DeVos after confirmation in which she called for “acting justly, being compassionate and moving forward humbly on behalf of the future of our nation – America’s students,” the letter from LGBT advocates says a “withdrawal of this critical guidance would represent a major retreat from these commitments.”

In response to the letter, a Justice Department spokesperson said, “We have received the letter and will review it.”

The White House hasn’t responded to repeated requests from the Washington Blade to comment on whether President Trump supports the Justice Department’s withdrawal of the request for a stay. The Education Department didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment on the letter.

— From The Washington Blade and National Gay Media Association

 

Comments

6 COMMENTS

  1. Great blog here! Also your website loads up very fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast
    as yours lol

  2. Hi, I do think your web site might be having web browser compatibility
    issues. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however,
    when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!

    Aside from that, great website!

  3. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to
    this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding
    your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates
    and will talk about this site with my Facebook
    group. Talk soon!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here