While no formal announcement has been issued, the Department of Education under President Donald Trump appears to be have had its fill of the controversy over which bathroom transgender students can use.
All of which goes to show that under Trump, boys will be boys after all.
According to BuzzFeed News, the Department of Education has said that it will not investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity.
After three weeks of inquiring, BuzzFeed News was told by DOE spokesperson Liz Hill these students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.
“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Hill said.
This doesn’t mean that other types of complaints made by transgender students will be ignored.
“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,” Hill said. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
The LGBT activist community, accustomed to favorable treatment from former President Barack Obama, to include his administration’s interpretation that Title IX guaranteed transgender students the right to use the restroom facility of their choice, will see this decision as another slight by the current administration.
Catherine Lhamon, who led the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights during the Obama administration, spoke with BuzzFeed News and questioned the legality of the policy decision.
“Until now, the official position of the Department has been that Title IX protects all students and that they were evaluating how that protection applies to the issue of bathroom access,” Lhamon said. “This new categorical bar of civil rights protection for transgender children required to attend schools every day ignores the text of the law, courts’ interpretation of the law, the stated position of the Department to date, and human decency.”
While Lhamon stated “until now,” it was in 2016 that the previous administration applied its “progressive” interpretation of Title IX.