Trump Administration Withdraws Obama's Transgender Guidelines

February 23, 2017


President Trump’s administration withdrew an Obama administration guidelines to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choice. The Trump administration said they prefer to leave the issue to the states and local school districts — that it is not a federal issue. 


Conservatives feel that there is a risk of predators “acting” as the opposite sex and infiltrating restrooms, while liberals argue that transgender students are at risk for abuse or hate crimes.


Transgender students using restrooms was a hot issue last year when multiple states, most prominently North Carolina and Texas, sued the Obama administration, saying it was government overreach. A Texas federal judge put a temporary hold on nationwide enforcement Obama’s order, but that Obama order is now  “dissolved.” 


North Carolina passed a law last year that required students to use the restroom that corresponded to the gender they were born with. Multiple other states are considering passing similar legislation. 


The question here is — should it be a state issue — which means transgender students might have various rights/protections across America — or should it be a civil rights issue, which requires federal oversight/enforcement? Also debated is Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in education — does Title IX apply to gender identity? 


There is now a Supreme Court case related to this brought by a transgender student, Gavin Grimm. He was born a female but now identifies as a male. He attends a high school in Virginia and was barred from using the men’s restroom — and was told to use a single-stall unisex toilet. 


So Gavin/his family sued the school board last year in federal court. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of him, saying the school should follow the Obama interpretation. The school board appealed and it will be discussed in the Supreme Court sometime next month. 


But the Supreme Court’s final ruling might only discuss whether the Fourth Circuit was correct in referring to the Obama administration — instead of making a broad decision on the issue of transgender students using restrooms. The Trump administration’s different directive on the issue might complicate things further. The final decision is sometime before July. 


So, there's still a debate on whether transgender students should be able to choose their restrooms.

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