- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Trump administration will rescind an Obama-era order compelling public schools nationwide to permit restroom and locker room access on the basis of gender identity, the Washington Blade reported.

The Blade cites Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, who says she heard from “reliable sources” that President Trump has authorized the Education and Justice Departments to revoke the guidance.

When asked about the report Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president has long considered the matter a “states’ rights issue.”

“That’s an issue that the Department of Justice and the Department of Education are addressing,” Mr. Spicer said at his press briefing. “I think there will be further guidance coming from DOJ in particular with respect to, not just the executive order, but also the case that’s in front of the Supreme Court. The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue, and not one for the federal government. This is not something that the federal government should be involved with.”

The Obama administration issued an edict in May forcing public schools nationwide to allow transgender students to use the restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities of their choice. Noncompliant schools risked losing federal education funding.

Twelve states filed a lawsuit challenging that interpretation of Title IX, the federal statute barring discrimination in education on the basis of “sex.” A federal court in Texas blocked the order nationwide in August.

The Obama administration filed an appeal challenging that ruling, but it was withdrawn this month by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Gay-rights organizations say rescinding the order will harm transgender students.

“Transgender young people face tragically high rates of discrimination and bullying, and they need a government that will stand up for them — not attack them,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “It’s shocking that this kind of harm would even be a subject of debate for the president. We call on Trump to immediately and permanently affirm the Obama administration’s guidance and protect transgender students.”

Dave Boyer contributed to this story.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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