Transgender is a broad term used to describe anyone “whose gender identity or gender expression does not match society’s expectations of how an individual who was assigned a particular sex at birth should behave in relation to their gender.”
Transgender includes people who are transsexual, intersex, crossdressers, transvestites, people who decide to have genital surgery, and people who decide not to have the surgery.
As you can imagine, this covers A LOT of people.
Although the discrimination faced by transgender people is varied, it often includes prohibition from using certain bathrooms, and refusal to call someone by their name or using improper gender pronouns.
Other forms of discrimination have included bullying, harassment, and violence.
Battle of the Presidents
During Obama’s presidency, great strides were made to protect LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) rights, specifically to allow transgender people to use whichever restroom they prefer, based on their chosen gender identity. Now, however, under Trump, protection has been revoked.
Under the Obama Administration
Obama aimed to create a unified policy for all states to follow. Various states had faced litigation, and some found that students were protected under various bodies of state law. The sad truth of the matter is that a lot of the problems occurred with elementary school-aged children, not adults, as many may think.
Contrary to popular belief, it is small children who have been having problems at school. Sometimes forced to use the nurse’s restroom, or called out in front of their classmates, many regularly had accidents. Some could not make it to the restroom in time (imagine someone in kindergarten having to walk across the school to use the bathroom) and others were humiliated for being called out in front of their friends; thus, they chose to avoid the bathroom at all costs.
Although many contrasts certainly exist, the bathroom situation is reminiscent of the “separate but equal” stance that lasted for far too long. Further concerns exist regarding gym class. Changing in a locker room is already an uncomfortable situation for many children and teens, never mind if someone dressed in female underwear and bra is changing in the male locker room, or vice versa.
Many schools may provide private space to change, but certainly not all do. Transgender students have often foregone changing for gym class, either wearing their gym clothes all day or participating in non-gym clothes. Regardless, the result is the same; transgender students are left feeling alienated from their classmates.
Obama released federal guidelines explaining how federal law should be interpreted. Ultimately, the guidelines expanded LGBTQ rights by applying Title IX protection from sex discrimination to include discrimination based on gender identity. Trump’s directive revokes these guidelines, leaving federal law open to more relaxed interpretation.
Trump’s directive is based on the following: that such rights are not protected by current federal law and that they should be decided by the states. Trump’s administration has hinted that if Congress so chooses, it could create more comprehensive legislation.
Trump’s directive demonstrated a rift between members of his cabinet — Education Director Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who stood directly opposite of one another. DeVos feared repercussions for students and Sessions aspired to “undo” past Democratic directives.
When Obama released his directive, it certainly rocked the state of the country. Immediately, several states sued. In the courts, many people suddenly had a greater chance of winning their lawsuits. Further, many states and school districts adopted legislation protecting transgender rights.
The impact of Trump’s decision is to be determined. Certainly those parties who opposed transgender protection will see his directive as empowering or affirming their position, even if, as Trump states, it still leaves the law open for interpretation.
Currently, fifteen states have laws that explicitly protect transgender students. As for the other 35 states, time will tell. Texas has made its position very clear. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated, “The action taken today by the Trump administration is encouraging and my office is evaluating what impact it might bear on our ongoing litigation. Our fight over the bathroom directive has always been about former President Obama’s attempt to bypass Congress and rewrite the laws to fit his political agenda for radical social change. The Obama administration’s directive on bathrooms unlawfully invaded areas that are left to state discretion under the 10th Amendment. School policy should center on the safety, privacy and dignity of its students, not the whims of federal bureaucrats.”
North Carolina has taken an even more restrictive position, enacting a law that restricts bathrooms in government owned buildings to the sex that appears on a person’s birth certificate. Arizona, Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming all have bills in place, similar in nature to the North Carolina law, that would limit transgender rights.
The Supreme Court has decided not to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in the Gavin Grimm case, and remanded it back to the Fourth Circuit to make a decision based on Trump’s directive. This case was important because it would be the first time that the Supreme Court has considered the issue of gender identity in accordance with law protecting from sex discrimination.
Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia for access to the boy’s restroom. Although he was born a girl, he was later diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Initially, he used the boy’s restroom; however, after parents complained, the school advised that he use the girl’s restroom or a privacy bathroom in the nurse’s office. The Fourth Circuit based its decision on Obama’s directive; thus, under Trump’s directive, it must reconsider the meaning of the law.
For more information regarding Nevada laws, or if you feel your rights have been violated, please call Mace Yampolsky & Associates. Call or text us at (702) 385-9777. We are available 24/7 for emergencies. If you need help, CALL NOW before it is too late. We can help!