With the Trump administration poised to lift federal guidelines regarding transgender rights at public school bathrooms, Mayor Bill de Blasio is letting New Yorkers know where he stands.
The mayor announced via Twitter: "We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values," along with a link to the AP Tweet regarding how the White House will lift Obama-era guidelines that tell public schools they must let transgender public school students use the bathrooms of their choice.
We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values. https://t.co/Ckr1yA5P0P
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 22, 2017
In a letter to the nation’s schools, administration officials plan to say they are withdrawing guidance issued by the Obama administration that found that denying transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choice violates federal prohibitions against sex discrimination, according to a draft of the letter obtained by The Washington Post.
“This interpretation has given rise to significant litigation,” states the two-page draft, which indicates that the Education and Justice departments plan to issue it jointly. The draft says administrators, parents and students have “struggled to understand and apply the statements of policy” in the Obama-era guidance.
As a result, the departments “have decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further consider the legal issues involved.” The letter makes clear that schools must protect all students and that the withdrawal of the guidance “does not diminish the protections from bullying and harassment that are available to all students. Schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment.”
The NY Times had reported that newly minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos were at odds: "Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order and told President Trump that she was uncomfortable with it, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions... Mr. Sessions, who strongly opposes expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, fought Ms. DeVos on the issue and pressed her to relent because he could not go forward without her consent. The order must come from the Justice and Education Departments."
Now White House press secretary Sean Spicer says everyone is on board:
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) February 22, 2017
State Senator Brad Hoylman issued his own statement today:
"Trump is a shameless bully who's picking on vulnerable kids to please the Alt-Right and other extremists who helped get him elected.
“By undermining Title IX protections for transgender students, Trump would allow all of America to follow the bogus 'bathroom bills' coming out of North Carolina and Texas, which are premised on the outrageous assertion that transgender people are sexual predators. The reality is that upwards of 50 percent of transgender people are themselves the victims of sexual violence. Schools must offer a safe haven for all children - period. Trump's new federal guidance obliterates that basic standard.
“Despite Trump’s assurance that he would defend the rights of all Americans, including the LGBT community, if this federal guidance is enacted, transgender kids will be the latest target of the bigotry that has become a signature of this administration.
“Through his actions, Trump has declared open season on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. I intend to stand against this hateful measure by any means necessary.”
Last year, President Trump said that transgender people should "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate."