Two days after Jeff Sessions was confirmed as U.S. Attorney General, the Justice Department backtracked on an effort by the Obama administration to allow transgender school students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
In a legal brief submitted Friday, the Trump administration withdrew from an objection filed by the previous White House which sought to protect these students from being discriminated against.
As the Huffington Post reported on Saturday:
A back-and-forth started in August with a Texas court order that barred the Obama administration from instructing states on how to accommodate transgender students, in response to a lawsuit filed by a dozen states that opposed the guidance. The Obama administration objected to that injunction, saying that it flew in the face of rights given by Title IX. On Friday, the Justice Department withdrew the government’s objection on behalf of the Trump administration.
In other words, the Justice Department no longer objects to schools discriminating against their LGBTQ students.
With Sessions – a staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights – now leading the Justice Department, he will also be in charge of a previous lawsuit against North Carolina’s high-profile HB2 law, which forbids transgender people in the state from using any public restroom that matches their gender identity.
In the wake of these reversals by the Trump Justice Department, civil rights groups quickly expressed their outrage.
“Transgender students are entitled to the full protection of the United States Constitution and our federal nondiscrimination laws,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin in a statement. “It is heartbreaking and wrong that the agency tasked with enforcing civil rights laws would instead work to subvert them for political interests.”
Griffin urged the president to direct his Justice Department to protect the rights of all Americans and reverse this move immediately.
We are just three weeks into the new administration – and only days into Jeff Sessions’ tenure as head of the Justice Department – and fears of the LGBTQ community are becoming a reality.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.