This week, the Trump administration indicated that they would be rolling back nationwide guidelines established by President Obama as it pertains to transgender Americans and their bathroom use.
Shortly before leaving office, President Obama signed a nationwide rule which offered protections to transgender Americans when it comes to their freedom to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity.
The rule ordered schools nationwide to allow children to use the restroom which corresponded to their gender identity and expression rather than their biological sex. This rule was effective at protecting these students’ right while quelling a national conversation that had sprung up the year before.
This decision by the Obama administration offered blanket protection to the trans community and put an end to the growing bathroom inquiry movement, sparked by an anti-trans bill initiated by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
In passing the rule, the Obama administration guaranteed that any trans individual, while still subject to a wealth of other discrimination and indignity, could now safely use the restroom that enabled them to be the safest in peace.
The Trump administration says that they intend to roll back this nationwide rule in order to allow states to make their own guidelines about this controversial subject, meaning that McCrory’s bathroom law and other copycats are free to be implemented without federal intervention.
Advocates have expressed concern about laws like this being passed as it might put already threatened groups in further danger for violence and suicide. Despite some who advocate for bathroom bills claiming that sexual deviants might try and “pass” as Trans to gain access to a public restroom, in all states except North Carolina, there are no rules on the books to prevent anyone of any gender going into any restroom as they please. Even without any laws, there are no widespread reports of men entering the women’s restroom to prey on children, or vice versa.
Despite knowing what the risks of not having these rules are, the risks of allowing laws like the one in North Carolina to be passed is clear: by allowing legislation to directly target trans teens and adults, we will see a rise in violence perpetrated against these already endangered groups.
President Trump may have stepped back from other legislation to target the LGB’s in America, but this rollback will have a major effect on the trans community in America.