As reported by the New York Times among other news outlets, the Trump administration yesterday cast aside a provision implemented by the Obama Administration meant to allow transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
The backlash in the wake of the move has been swift and fierce. Trump inauguration singer Jackie Evancho, whose sister is transgender, spoke out against the move directly to President Trump on Twitter:
This is quite clearly a touchy subject. Opponents of the Obama provision contended that it gave pedophiliacs a vehicle in which to infiltrate bathrooms and prey upon young women. Its proponents maintain that it was necessary for the protection of transgender kids who face homophobic-fueled bullying and physical abuse all throughout this country.
A couple things are at issue here: The White House contends that this is a matter best left to the individual states. The provisions proponents contend that it is in fact a Civil Rights issues and therefore under the purview of the federal government.
Also, some have called the president out for hypocrisy in light of the fact that in an interview he stated himself that he would have no problem if a transgender individual such as Caitlyn Jenner used the women’s bathroom inside one of his own properties.
The president’s statement notwithstanding, however, what needs to be understood is that what Obama put in place was a provision and not a law. We believe it was a valid and necessary provision but it isn’t a law. We understand that Trump ran as a conservative and that this move plays very well to his base. And we will even concede that the concern for abuse of the provision by pedophiles is valid. However, the fear that transgender kids face everyday from people who hate them is real also. The sheer mental turmoil that a transgender child goes through just by being forced to use facilities that don’t correspond with their gender identity is real also. And as such, our view is that this provision should not have been rescinded until there was something in place to protect transgender kids. Now, as it stands, they are left in the lurch.
The overarching issue here is that the religious right simply doesn’t believe that the cause of transgender children is valid. Many of them believe that transgender children are possessed of a demon and need to be “cured.” Even if any of that preposterousness were true, it’s no basis to leave a segment of our community unprotected. In the gospels, Jesus himself protected a woman accused of adultery, even though he was staunchly against it, and made sure a hateful mob didn’t stone her to death. He protected her in spite of disagreeing with her choice. So conservatives, if you’re asking yourself, “what would Jesus do?” Well, as is evidenced above, he’d make sure these transgender kids remained protected.
So it’s disheartening that in the name of ideological, religious and party loyalty, we forget that there will be real people placed in real peril for this decision made by our president.
More as this story develops.
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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