The Trump administration on Wednesday sent a letter to the nation’s schools announcing its rescission of the Obama administration’s federal guidance to protect transgender students.
In response, The Leadership Conference, the National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN, the National Women’s Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, and MALDEF issued a statement condemning the administration.
“The U.S. Department of Education has a critical and well-established role in clarifying and enforcing civil rights protections for all students. The department has an obligation to ensure that all students have equal educational opportunities, a mandate that applies regardless of a student’s gender identity. Transgender students who face discrimination in schools have worse educational outcomes, and poorer psychological well-being than their cisgender peers,” wrote the groups.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released the joint guidance in May 2016 to clarify schools’ Title IX obligations regarding transgender students and to provide examples of how both departments determine compliance.
“The guidance presented best practices from schools across the country and advised schools on complying with the law. School districts received much-needed clarification that, under federal law, they must treat students equally and with dignity, consistent with their gender identity,” the groups said in Wednesday’s statement. “Additionally, hundreds of thousands of transgender students received a clear message: the law was on their side. By rescinding the guidance today, the Trump administration has taken the opposite stance.”
Last May, The Leadership Conference and 22 other organizations sent a letter to then-Secretary of Education John King and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in strong support of the guidance.
The guidance’s withdrawal comes just weeks before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, which will address whether Title IX protects transgender students.