Last May, the Obama administration released guidelines making clear that schools cannot discriminate on the basis of a student’s gender identity, which is barred under Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination.
Despite repeated assurances from President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions that they would protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, the Trump administration quickly moved to undermine the 2016 directive and is expected to withdraw the Title IX guidelines as early as today.
Though Trump claims to be an LGBTQ ally—a claim largely accepted without scrutiny by the media—he has vowed to support anti-LGBTQ measures and has criticized the Title IX guidelines while applauding the discriminatory actions taken by states like North Carolina.
Earlier today, White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX—that the law’s sex discrimination rules cover transgender students—“preposterous.”
“Such clear action directed at children would be a brazen and shameless attack on hundreds of thousands of young Americans who must already defend themselves against schoolyard bullies, but are ill-equipped to fight bullies on the floors of their state legislatures and in the White House,” the National Center for Transgender Equality said in response to the Trump administration’s actions.
Weakening non-discrimination protections is one of the key policy goals of anti-LGBTQ activists, who have already seen Trump deliver on many of his promises to the Religious Right movement. In just his first few weeks as president, Trump has nominated a far-right judge to the Supreme Court, reinstated the global gag rule on women’s health providers, attempted to curb migration from predominantly Muslim nations and moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate.
In March, the Supreme Court plans to hear a case on whether a Virginia school board violated the rights of a transgender student, Gavin Grimm, by denying him the right to use the bathroom that matches his gender.