President Donald Trump’s administration declared Wednesday its withdrawal of the Obama-era guidelines requiring schools to accommodate transgender students based on their gender identity. The news of “Trump Lifts Transgender Policy” serves as a victory for the opponents of the mandate. But for its supporters, it was a huge disappointment that stirred confusion over the government’s role in enforcing civil rights.
Trump Lifts Transgender Guidelines: The Reversal
In a two-page letter to public schools, the current administration explained the reason behind the withdrawal. Apparently, the directive was lacking “extensive legal analysis” of how its position was consistent with Title IX. It had caused confusion and as a result generated lawsuits.
“As President Trump has clearly stated, he believes policy regarding transgender bathrooms should be decided at the state level,” the White House explained in a statement. It reportedly paves the way for “an open and inclusive process to take place at the local level” with input from teachers, parents, students and administrators. Despite the reversal, the letter stressed the anti-bullying efforts, aimed at protecting transgender students, would not be lifted.
Protests have started shortly after – both on the streets and online. Many, including celebrities, politicians, and even corporate leaders took it to social media to condemn Trump’s decision and declare their support for the LGBT community in the wake of the administration’s announcement of the reversal.
Trump Lifts Transgender Guidelines: Online Backlash
Talks show host Ellen DeGeneres voiced out her dismay on her Twitter account, saying the transgender policy isn’t about politics. It’s about human rights, and its rollback is not okay. Brie Larson, on the other hand, called it “disgusting” and “unacceptable.” Trump even faced a backlash from his inauguration singer Jackie Evancho who wrote on the same site how the reversal disappointed her, per ABC.
Outside Hollywood, Senator Tammy Baldwin and author Rainbow Rowell also expressed their disapproval to Trump’s decision. As did several pro-human rights organizations like Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Civil Rights Organization, as well as American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) February 23, 2017
Being a President for "all Americans" should include transgender students who deserve schools free of discrimination.
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) February 23, 2017
— Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) February 23, 2017
Meanwhile, Apple led the corporate criticism of the directive rollback. Not long after its announcement, the tech giant released a statement saying everyone should have a chance “to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination.” The iPhone maker strongly expressed its disapproval, adding it “limits or rescinds” transgenders’ rights and protections.
Uber has also stressed its longstanding opposition to any action that harms the LGBT community. It has pledged to continue to speaking out “against discriminatory actions and in favor of a good policy that champions equality and inclusion for all.”
And Microsoft, through a tweet from its president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, swiped at Trump’s decision subtly. These criticisms are only the latest in a long-running standoff between Silicon Valley companies and Washington.
Since Jan. 1, 1863, the federal government has played a vital role in protecting the rights of all Americans. Let’s not stop now. #LGBTQ
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) February 22, 2017
Obama had ordered public schools last May to let transgender students use the bathrooms that match their chosen gender identity. The rainbow community, according to Reuters, hailed the directive as a victory for their civil rights.
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