- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Embroiled in a controversy over transgender bathrooms in schools, President Obama marked “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia” on Tuesday with a statement urging Americans to treat everyone with respect.

Mr. Obama said the worldwide event celebrates “the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity.”

“I am proud that my administration has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals a specific focus of our engagement around the world,” he said. “At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad.”

The administration issued a controversial rule last week directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathroom facilities consistent with their “gender identity,” rather than the gender on their birth certificate. Schools that don’t follow the guidance could risk losing federal funding.

Governors in some states are saying they won’t comply with the guidance.

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia was first celebrated in 2005.

In too many places, LGBT individuals grow up forced to conceal or deny who they truly are for fear of persecution, discrimination, and violence,” Mr. Obama said. “All nations and all communities can, and must, do better.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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