ON February 22nd, the Trump administration announced it would withdraw its predecessor’s guidelines regarding the accommodation of transgender students in America’s government-funded schools. Sean Spicer, Donald Trump’s press secretary, said that the president had “made it clear throughout the campaign that he’s a firm believer in states’ rights”. Issues like transgender bathroom access, he added, “are not best dealt with at the federal level”. The move has disheartened liberals and cheered conservatives, but its impact is likely to be more limited than either side expects.
Nine months ago, officials from the education and justice departments officials sent a letter and 25-page instructional pamphlet to school districts across the country. The message was simple: America’s schools should permit transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. In the face of new laws in North Carolina and other states imposing a biological test on bathroom access, the Obama administration noted that “the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.” This…Continue reading