As the Trump administration issued a guidance on Wednesday rescinding its support for trans students’ rights to use the bathroom which corresponds with their gender identity, hundreds gathered outside the White House to protest the move.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued the guidance in the form of a joint “Dear Colleague” letter, which said the departments are reversing their position, asserted under Obama, that transgender rights are included in Title IX non-discrimination laws.
The departments, under Obama, had issued guidances to school districts across the country advising them that they should protect trans students and allow them to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identities, not their sex assigned at birth. In yesterday’s letter, the departments said trans rights are a state- and district-level issue.
Gavin Grimm, the Virginia high school student at the center of a trans rights case that will be heard by the Supreme Court this year, was among those protesting.
“No matter what happens, no one, not even the government, can defeat a community so full of life, color, diversity and most importantly, love,” he said, addressing the crowd.
Reuters has footage of his speech:
The protest comes a week after nearly 800 parents of transgender children from across the country wrote an open letter to President Trump asking him to protect their chldrens’ rights.
LGBTQ activists and lawyers say that while the letter is a blow to trans rights and could immediately have an impact on trans students in counties with regressive policies or practices, it does not change what they believe is the correct interpretation of civil rights law.
Groups including Lambda Legal and the ACLU say they’re prepared to fight for trans students’ rights in court, on the basis that Title IX non-discrimination laws apply to gender identity.