Transgender students in many states may once again have to fight for their right to be recognized as the correct gender.
A White House official said Wednesday that President Trump will give back to state governments the ability to determine policies for transgender students in schools. For example, states will be able to decide whether or not schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Barack Obama's administration required all schools to recognize transgender students as their chosen gender, saying they were protected under Title IX, which stipulates that educational institutions cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.
Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary said the president “believes that the transgender protections are a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government.” According to the Huffington Post, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was against rescinding Obama’s order but was convinced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sign off on it. Spicer later stated that DeVos wasn’t against signing the order at all, and that there were no disagreements between her and Sessions.
Trump has been very inconsistent on transgender rights. During his campaign, he said that transgender people should be able to use the bathroom they choose, but he clearly doesn't feel strongly enough about that to continue Obama-era protections.
This should go without saying, but transgender people should absolutely be recognized as the gender they identify with. But for now, transgender students will have to fight at the state level for their rights. This definitely isn’t the end of the discussion in terms of transgender rights in the federal government—in March, the Supreme Court will rule if Title IX does indeed apply to gender identity. So let's not totally lose hope.