BREAKING: On February 10, just two days after Jeff Sessions was sworn in as Attorney General, the Department of Justice took a first step toward dropping their defense of the transgender student guidance in court. While the guidance is still in place, this is a major signal that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is likely planning to stop defending the guidance entirely and may try to reverse the guidance. It is more important than ever to take action now to stop this from happening.
– National Center for Transgender Equality
A federal judge in Texas has ordered the Department of Education to temporarily stop investigating complaints related to trans students’ restroom and locker room access. Within two days of starting his job, Attorney General Jeff Sessions with the support of the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, have started to backtrack from defending the guidance in court, indicating that the federal government may stop defending against the lawsuit entirely. Technically speaking, the other parts of the guidance, not dealing with restrooms or locker rooms, are still in effect and the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights can still investigate complaints relating to those other types of discrimination. Right now, you can still complain directly to them (see link 1, below).
During the Presidential transition, Vice President Pence and others associated with the Trump administration have said that they plan on reversing that guidance. As of now, that has not happened--but as noted above, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos are indicating they might no longer defend that guidance in court. The National Center for Transgender Equality is fighting to make sure that the new administration doesn’t take away this guidance. Even if the new administration does roll back the guidance, that can’t change the Title IX law itself—and it doesn’t change those federal court opinions that say the law protects trans students.
There’s great uncertainty right now about what trans students’ rights are at school. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what happens in the new administration or with the Supreme Court, many schools will still be willing to support trans students. In many places, there are state laws or other protections in place to rely on, even if the federal protections are eroded. These links will help you access key documents below:
Please consider passing this along to colleagues, list serves, friends and family, and if you are teaching, ask your peers and students to write letters in support of transgender youth.
On behalf of the youth you are about to help, we all thank you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Please, please, pass on.!
sj Miller, Ph.D.