On Tuesday, the Department of Justice in tandem with the Department of Education rescinded guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination.
In May of last year, the Obama administration issued federal guidance prohibiting discrimination against transgender students and instructing public schools to allow these students to use the restroom that aligns with the gender they live every day.
This move was more a symbolic gesture than an ultimatum, indicating the administration’s alignment with case study that shows Title IX protections prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex also apply to transgender people. The guidance sent a strong signal to transgender students: We affirm you, we recognize your dignity, and you deserve to be treated equally and with respect.
But now, Trump’s Department of Justice and Department of Education have circulated a letter rescinding this federal decree, and thereby sending an equally potent message to transgender students across America: Your safety and equal treatment is NOT a priority for the federal government.
This move bodes ominously for transgender youth and LGBT Americans at large, who are still waiting for signals about how the Trump administration plans to address issues of LGBT civil rights.
But, the revocation of the Obama administration guidance does not undo legal protections for transgender student. The Title IX non-discrimination clauses still protect transgender students—and there are legal organizations working to ensure these protections are upheld by schools across Georgia.
— Georgia Unites (@GeorgiaUnites) August 23, 2016
But as the federal government takes backward steps on transgender protections, Georgia has the opportunity to take our state forward and chart a new course by advancing LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination legislation.
In the past weeks, members of the Senate Black Caucus formally announced the introduction of SB 119—the first ever comprehensive and fully-inclusive civil rights bill in Georgia.
According to our report, Liberty & Justice in Georgia, Georgia is one of only five states without a statewide non-discrimination law. If passed, SB 119 would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, public places and other areas on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.
As federal protections for LGBT Americans hang in the balance, it is important that our state lawmakers take action to affirm the equal rights and dignity of our gay and transgender neighbors and friends.SHARE THIS STORY