After a few days of speculation, Donald Trump’s Department of Justice and Department of Education rescinded guidelines issued by the Obama Administration which supported transgender students in their right to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who ran a failed bid against Trump on Hillary Clinton’s ticket last year, has spoken out against the roll back and is now sharing concerns expressed by LGBTQ allies and parents of LGBTQ kids around the Commonwealth.
“I am disappointed by the Trump Administration’s decision to roll back protections for transgender students in public schools,” said Kaine in a statement sent out this afternoon. “All students are entitled to a safe learning environment, and I worry this will damage efforts already underway in our public schools to protect members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination, bullying, and violence.”
Seventy-five percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school, according to a recent GLSEN report. And one study showed that more than 50 percent of transgender young people report attempting suicide at least once in their lifetime.
The guidelines in question were created and distributed by the Obama Administration and instructed schools to be more understanding and supportive of trans students needs, including allowing them to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity. It also interpreted Title IX, the federal law which aims to curb discrimination in public schools, to include trans identities as sex discrimination.
Trump’s rescinding order could greatly impact the Gloucester County trans teen Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court case set to be heard next month. It relied heavily on the Title IX interpretation and now that its gone, it only leaves the 14th amendment, equal protection under the law, which might not cary as much weight nationally, especially if SCOTUS ties 4-4.