In response, there is a rally at the Stonewall National Monument at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday night, with dozens of sponsors, including Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Black Trans Advocacy - NY, NYC Equality Coalition and more and public officials like Rep. Jerry Nadler, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Hoylman and more.
In New York City, officials are promising to stand by transgender people of all ages, and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said, "We are dedicated to ensuring every student is provided with a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment."
— NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) February 23, 2017
A letter from the Department of Justice and Education said the previous administration's directive was "without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy." The NY Times reported that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was against removing the protections, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to President Trump to get his support to rescind the order. The paper noted, "Ms. DeVos’s unease was evident in a strongly worded statement she released on Wednesday night, in which she said she considered it a 'moral obligation' for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment." (You can read her statement here.)
I consider protecting all students, including #LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America.
— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) February 23, 2017
On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said, "We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values," while State Senator Brad Hoylman said, "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."
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman added, "I will do whatever it takes to protect transgender and all LGBTQ New Yorkers, no matter what happens in Washington. That's why my office will ensure that Title IX and New York’s own civil rights protections are enforced—because policies that ensure equality also promote safe and inclusive schools, workplaces, and communities, benefiting everyone."
"Every New Yorker has the legal right to use bathrooms and facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression, no questions asked. Safe and equal bathroom access is essential for everyone, and in New York City, it’s the law and has been since 2002. The NYC Commission on Human Rights, which enforces the City’s powerful anti-discrimination law, will continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect that right and the rights of all New Yorkers to live and work free from discrimination, including safe and equal access to bathrooms. If you or someone you know experiences or witnesses discrimination, call 311 and ask for Human Rights or call the Commission’s Infoline at 718-722-3131," Carmelyn P. Malalis, head of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, said.
Governor Cuomo just released a statement:
“As the federal government seeks to roll back the progress we have achieved toward equality, we in New York will never stop fighting to ensure the LBGTQ community and all Americans are afforded the equal protections guaranteed to them by the United States constitution.
“The misguided action taken by the federal government last night runs contrary to the New York Promise of individual freedoms. With the stroke of a pen, they seek to move this country backwards.
“Today, I am urging the State Education Department to issue a directive to all school districts making it clear that - regardless of Washington's action - the rights and protections that had been extended to all students in New York remain unchanged under state law.
“In New York, whether you are gay, straight or transgender, Muslim, Jewish or Christian, rich or poor, black or white or brown, we respect all people - and we will continue to enforce our laws and stand united against those who seek to drive us apart.”
He also issued a letter (PDF) to the NY State Department of Education to ensure transgender students are protected from discrimination.
The NYCLU pointed out, "The new Trump administration guidance cannot undo the legal protections under Title IX and the Constitution that apply to transgender students. The majority of federal courts have upheld the Obama administration’s guidance, and the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to definitely vindicate the rights of transgender students under federal law in March when it hears a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of Gavin Grimm. Moreover, there are independent protections for students in New York State law that will be unaffected by the guidance."
"The Trump administration has made it clear that it will not protect the rights of the transgender community - one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States. Even as the law remains on the side of transgender students, the administration’s new guidance sends them a terrible message about their right to receive an education as the people that they are, and creates national confusion around our civil rights laws that will put countless transgender children’s lives and well-being at risk," New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said.