Welcome to another week of “how will the Trump administration damage the lives of the LGBTQ community.” Today, the Education Department told BuzzFeed News that “it won't investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity.”
While this is par for the course for the homophobic and transphobic administration, it sets a damaging and dangerous new precedent for the transgender students who have had to face fear and abuse for their gender identity when trying to use the bathroom. It also represents a shift from the administration’s yearlong position that it was “studying” the issue.
In February 2017, the Education Department and Justice Department withdrew Obama-era guidance on transgender restroom access and said in a memo and court filings that they would "consider the legal issues involved.” Months later, in June, the Education Department issued a memo saying it was "permissible" for its civil rights division to dismiss a trans student's restroom case.
The Justice Department’s reasoning for this decision comes down to the 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX, which reads: “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.”
When clarifying their position, the Justice Department said that Title IX “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”