It appears that the Trump administration is about to tackle one of the most controversial issues of the last several years: transgender bathroom use.
As Fox News reports, the White House announced that it will take action against an Obama-era policy “that allows students to use school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity,” rather than the gender of their birth.
The process could reportedly be introduced as soon as Wednesday, when the White House reportedly plans to release a letter from the Justice Department to schools across the nation.
MORE: Trump would allow public schools to set own rules on which bathroom transgender students must use – draft document
Noting that the Education and Justice Departments would soon issue “fresh guidance” on the Obama policy, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday:
“I think that all you have to do is look at what the president’s view has been for a long time, that this is not something that the federal government should be involved in, this is a states’ rights issue.”
While Spicer did not get in to specifics about changes to Obama’s policy, The Washington Post obtained a draft version of the soon-to-be-released letter that shines some light on the details.
Arguing that school officials, parents and students alike have “struggled to understand and apply” transgender student bathroom policies introduced by Obama, the letter notes that the Education and Justice Departments “have decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further consider the legal issues involved.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the news was quickly condemned by rights organizations:
Now is the time for every single person to stand up for transgender kids under attack by the Trump Administration. #ProtectTransKids
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 22, 2017
Transgender rights are civil rights. An attack on the civil and human rights of some is an attack on the civil and human rights of all.
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) February 22, 2017
Still, it should be noted that the Trump administration is not exactly abandoning the rights of transgender students.
As the draft letter states, any changes made to the policy would “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.”
For what it’s worth, Trump himself has in fact defended these same rights in the past, saying that transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they want — a statement that Caitlyn Jenner successfully put to the test.
It appears the president would rather allow the states themselves decide what works best — rather than let his personal position impact national policy.