The White House said Tuesday that President Trump views school districts’ bathroom policies for transgender students as a “states’ rights” issue in response to reports that the president will reverse the Obama administration’s rule on such policies.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer didn’t specifically discuss details of a pending action but said guidance will be coming from the Justice Department and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“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 White House spokesman said.
The Washington Blade reported that 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 Blade cited Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, who said she heard from “reliable sources” that Mr. Trump has authorized the Education and Justice departments to revoke the guidance.
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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The Obama administration filed an appeal challenging that ruling, but it was withdrawn this month by Mr. Sessions, the new attorney general.
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.”