The Trump administration has announced that it will not investigate or take any action on complaints filed by transgender students who have been banned from using the restroom of their choice.
This reverses 2016 guidance by the Obama administration that directed public school students to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity.
“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told CNN Monday. “Therefore the question is whether a student (regardless of gender identity) has been discriminated against on the basis of sex. Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. In the case of bathrooms, however, longstanding regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
The secretary would contend that it is the job of Congress or the courts, not the bureaucracy, to determine whether or not the term ‘sex’ under Title IX encompasses ‘gender identity,'”
Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said that “choosing to ignore the rights of transgender students and to not enforce Title IX when it comes to their protection is an unambiguous step backwards for civil rights in this country.”
Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, called the Department of Education’s decision not to investigate the complaints “cruel” and said the department’s policies were “hurting transgender students in concrete and far-reaching ways.”