The election of President Donald Trump in November made many people anxious about their future, particularly when his platform appeared to be focused on rolling backwards rather than moving forwards. As the Trump administration attempts to dismantle Obamacare, turn the clock back on immigration, and build a wall between Mexico and the United States, there is one more community about to be hit with a roll back; the LGBTQ community. The Justice Department withdrew a trans right request on Friday to allow transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their identified gender, and it's a step in absolutely the wrong direction.
Before the Obama administration left office to make room for President Trump and his staff, there was an initiative in place to expand the rights of trangender people across the country. This included the reasonable expectation of students to use the bathroom of their identified gender, to allow them the basic dignity of that simple choice. When a Texas court order attempted to effectively ban the Obama administration from instructing each state on transgender rights, the former president's staff replied with a formal objection, citing Title IX as the reason. Title IX is part of the Education Amendment of 1972 and states:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
And so it begins.
Not only did the Justice Department withdraw the objection, but it also made a joint filing with the states who objected to the Obama administration's trangender policies to remove oral arguments surrounding the issue from the court's calendar. In essence saying "don't let us stand in your way."
The executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Kelsling, told The Huffington Post of the decision:
We saw this coming, and it’s not a surprise. But the Trump administration is a mess. They take on the people they perceive as the weakest first. I don’t think they understand how strong we are.
The National Center for Transgender Equality plans to send letters to every school in the country, to "remind them that Title IX is still the law of the land."
For now, transgender students won't be largely affected by the Justice Department's withdrawal. For now. But make no mistake; this decision does not bode well for the future of LGBTQ rights.