Truth, Liberty, Tolerance
On February 22nd, the Trump administration announced it would withdraw federal protections and guidelines put in place by Obama regarding the accommodation of transgender students in schools, specifically over transgender student’s freedom to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. The administration’s justifications for this rollback were that it should be up to the states to decide which protections it puts in place, because it is not best dealt with at a federal level.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Education were responsible for this decision, which rejects the nondiscrimination laws that Obama put in place that require schools to let students use the bathroom that best fits their gender identity. Betsy DeVos initially rejected this decision, unhappy that it would leave trans students vulnerable. Trump, however, chose to side with Attorney General Sessions.
On the campaign trail, Trump took what is considered a radical stance by the Republican party, saying that he would protect LGBT rights. This does not mean that Trump was necessarily gay-friendly, expressing discontent over gay marriage. On the campaign trail, he spoke in opposition over North Carolina’s bathroom law, later reversing that statement. On January 31st, the White House released a statement that concluded, “President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the L.G.B.T.Q. community.” Less than a month later, Trump reversed a decision integral to the protection of transgender individuals in schools.
Even if Trump was truly for LGBT rights, his cabinet and the rest of his administration is unwaveringly opposed. Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, is known for his anti-LGBT stance, advocating for conversion therapy for LGBT individuals. Jeff Sessions supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The great majority of Trump’s cabinet are rich, white men that have opposed LGBT efforts.
Will transgender individuals retain their rights in an overall anti-LGBT administration? If it is left up to the states, states like California will most definitely keep protections for transgender individuals. Other states that are more conservative may lose their protections for transgender individuals, from a president that promised to protect their interests.
In a time like this, it is important that we create solidarity with LGBT individuals in our life, for this is only the beginning of Trump’s administration. We must fight against the human rights violations that will come from Trump’s policies. From a government that only wants to tear people apart, we must express unity in the face of hatred.