A coalition of civil rights activists — led by transgender speakers — will gather at the historic Stonewall National Monument tonight to protest the Trump administration’s rollback of a federal guideline that allowed transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity.
The guideline, passed under the Obama administration, invoked Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination. The reversal, enacted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was justified in the way many other civil rights advancements have been targeted: by invoking states’ rights.
Sessions, who has a long history of opposing any expansion of civil rights protections, said in a statement that the previous directive “did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX.”
As such, the order was considered to have been written “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy,” according to a joint memo issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education.
DeVos reportedly opposed the reversal, but when pressed by both Sessions and Trump, relented. The previous order was stayed by a federal judge last August; after it was issued, Texas and several other states (including North Carolina, which passed a notorious “bathroom bill” that was met with economic boycotts) immediately challenged it. The Trump administration withdrew a motion originally filed by the Obama administration challenging the injunction last week.
The rally begins at 5:30p.m. at West 4th Street and Christopher Street.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 23, 2017