UK

Donald Trump To Scrap Bathroom Choice Rules For Transgender Students

White House confirms Obama guidance to be rescinded.

22/02/2017 22:23 GMT

Donald Trump’s administration is to scrap guidance enacted by Barack Obama allowing transgender pupils to use toilets of their choice.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed the President firmly believes “this is a states’ rights issue” against a backdrop of criticism that the rules represented government overreach that threatened other students’ privacy and safety.

“I would expect further guidance to come out on that today,” Spicer told a news conference.

In May, under President Obama, the Departments of Education and Justice issued the non-legally binding guidance mandating that any school that receives federal money must treat a student’s gender identity as his or her sex.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Donald Trump has tried to portray himself as a defender of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community - but has faced pressure from conservatives.

Schools, for example, would therefore have to allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.

A Washington Post report that broke the story said the new policy “does not diminish the protections from bullying and harassment that are available to all students”. 

The Obama administration directive prompted legal challenges from 13 states and a Texas federal judge’s intervention based on interpretation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

The Washington Post via Getty Images
Gavin Grimm, 17, left, with his mom Deirdre, who sued the Gloucester County School Board after it barred him from the boys' bathroom.

Trump has tried to portray himself as a defender of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, pledging in his Republican National Convention speech that he would protect its members from terrorist attacks. But he reversed his stance after facing Republican criticism.

The Trump administration’s latest decision could affect the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender teenager in Virginia who sued his school for the right to use the boys bathroom. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on March 28, and the rescinding of the federal guidance could give the court an excuse to throw it back to the lower court.