Transgender rights: Trump’s reversal
“Last spring, when I heard Donald Trump say that Caitlyn Jenner could use whatever bathroom she wanted at Trump Tower, I breathed a sigh of relief,” said Jen Aulwes in The Washington Post. I felt confident that if Trump became president, he’d extend the same courtesy to my 7-year-old transgender daughter, who has wanted to live as a girl since she was 3. But last week, “that hope was destroyed” when the Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration’s federal order requiring public schools to allow students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. That order was based on Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sexual discrimination in education. The Trump administration, however, now insists that bathroom policies are a matter of “states’ rights.” Will this reversal give “underhanded, whispered permission” to conservative states to ostracize trans kids like my daughter?
The Obama administration had no right to dictate “the nation’s bladder policy” in the first place, said Christian Schneider in USA Today. Whether or not you believe transgender people have the right to use the bathroom of their choice—and only a slim majority in this country does—that issue should be a question for local communities and students’ parents, not handed down “via one-size-fits-all presidential fiat.” While plenty of well-intentioned people worry about antitransgender discrimination, said Neal McCluskey in Washington Examiner.com, “equally decent people could feel very uncomfortable” about the thought of their young daughter sharing a bathroom or changing room with someone who was born male. “What about their rights?”
I’m not sure supporters of Trump’s rollback really understand the implications of their stance, said Eric Zorn in ChicagoTribune.com. Transgender teenage boys “with stubble and full beards” would have to share bathrooms with female students. And transgender girls with female clothing, hairstyles, and makeup would be forced to share bathrooms and locker rooms with boys. Who gains from that situation? The Supreme Court may soon have the final say, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. The justices are about to consider the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy who wanted to use the boy’s restroom at his Virginia high school. This is an opportunity for the court to decide whether or not transgender students are protected under Title IX—and end the school bathroom wars, once and for all.