Removing Obama’s guidance: What does this mean for the trans community?

By Niamh Dunne

Allowing transgender students to go to the bathroom that matches their gender identity is a big part of coming to terms with who they are. Credit: Zero Hedge

On Wednesday the 22nd of February, the Trump administration made the decision to withdraw the guidance that permitted transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. The decision was met with fierce opposition from civil rights groups ACLU and the LBGTQ.

The guidance of Title IX was first introduced by the Obama administration which required that public schools give transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with in public schools.

However, last Wednesday, in a letter released by the Departments of Justice and Education, the Government outlined that it is up to State and local school districts in establishing education policy. The letter also stated that schools must bear some responsibility in the harassment and bullying of trans students.

The removal of this guidance is a major setback for transgender students and the transgender community. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Centre for Transgender Equality stated, ”This is a mean-spirited attack on hundreds of thousands of students who simply want to be their true selves and be treated with dignity while attending school”.

This action came as a shock as President Trump and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, promised to protect the LGBTQ community. Ultimately, the letter states that the withdrawal of the guidance ‘does not leave students without protection from discrimination, bullying or harassment’.

DeVos reaffirmed the admin’s responsibility to “protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment”.

The removal of this guidance particularly affects one transgender student, Gavin Grimm. Gavin Grimm is a seventeen-year-old trans student and he has issued a lawsuit against Gl.

Grimm was 15-years-old when he revealed to his family that he was a transgender and while his family were supportive he school was not. After two school board meetings, the school board barred Grimm from using the boys bathroom and required that al trans students should use a separate ‘single user’ bathroom.

Grimm said he if needs to, he goes to the nurse’s office. Grimm decided to file a lawsuit against Gloucester County School Board, which is to be brought to the Supreme Court within the next few months.

The removal of this guidance doesn’t stop the case, however, it could give the courts an opportunity to send it to a lower court. The court also could decide to send the case back before the arguments.

Even famous trans celebrities have spoken out in support of Gavin Grimm and the trans issue at hand. They are calling upon President Trump to support the trans community and to ensure that the law makers are on the right side of this debate.

A week later and the country is still divided on this issue. The outcome of this discussion is still unclear, leaving millions of transgender people living in fear. On the other hand, Conservatives are concerned of the safety of their children, leaving the American people in disarray.