The Trump administration has revoked the Obama administration's actions to blackmail schools to adopt transgender bathroom policies. What are the details behind the Trump administration's actions?
Here are five things you need to know about it.
1. In May, Barack Obama's Departments of Justice and Education issued a letter to schools stating they would have their federal funds revoked if they didn't allow male students to pee in women's bathrooms and vice versa. The Daily Wire wrote at the time:
"A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so," the letter states. The letter also made it clear that schools cannot require a medical diagnosis for a person to use a bathroom of their choice.
The absurdity of the letter's premise can be seen in their definition of "gender identity," which "refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth." The letter defines a transgender male as " someone who identifies as male but was assigned the sex of female at birth." The key word in both cases is the word "assigned," implying that gender is nothing more than a homework assignment given out by a teacher and is therefore a fluid construct. The science, however, proves otherwise.
2. A federal court stopped the Obama administration from enforcing the policy. In August, Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that the policy was outside of the administration's purview because "Title IX meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female." The administration asked if the judge's ruling could only apply to the 13 states that brought forth the lawsuit, but O'Connor denied this appeal in October.
"It is clear from Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit precedent that this Court has the power to issue a nationwide injunction where appropriate," wrote O'Connor. "Both Title IX and Title VII rely on the consistent, uniform application of national standards in education and workplace policy. A nationwide injunction is necessary because the alleged violation extends nationwide. Should the Court only limit the injunction to the plaintiff states who are a party to this cause of action, the Court risks a 'substantial likelihood that a geographically-limited injunction would be ineffective.'"
3. The Trump administration simply dropped the Obama administration's appeal of O'Connor's ruling. Per CBS News, Attorney General Jeff Sessions viewed the matter as "a legal issue and not a policy issue," as the law did not state that gender is a social construct. The matter will instead be decided on a state and local level.
4. The Trump administration's revocation of the policy did not strip away discrimination protections from transgenders. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reaffirmed the administration's commitment to protecting transgenders from discrimination, writing in a letter, "At my direction, the Department's Office for Civil Rights remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools."
Later on in the letter, she added, "I have dedicated my career to advocating for and fighting on behalf of students, and as Secretary of Education, I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America."
While James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union did not agree with the Trump administration's actions in this area, he did admit to CBS News, "This does not undo legal protections for trans students, and school districts can and must continue to protect them and all students from discrimination. School districts that recognize that should continue doing the right thing. "
However, Esseks warned the Trump administration, "For the rest, we’ll see them in court."
5. DeVos reportedly clashed with Sessions about rescinding the policy. According to the New York Times, DeVos was concerned with "the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students." Sessions eventually went to Trump himself on the matter, and Trump agreed with Sessions; telling DeVos she needed to side with Sessions. DeVos reluctantly did so.
Follow Aaron Bandler on Twitter @bandlersbanter.