Earlier this week, the Department of Education dealt yet another blow to trans students.
Around this time last year, the Trump administration withdrew Obama-era Title IX protections allowing students to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identities. At the time, officials said they would look into the legal issues involved and then, months later, the department issued a memo stating it was “permissible” to dismiss a trans student’s restroom case.
While these initiatives and memos were problematic on their own, we never got a clear-cut declaration on the implications until Monday.
Education Department spokesperson Elizabeth Hill spoke Monday with Buzzfeed News about the specific protections — and lack thereof — under Title IX.
“Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX,” Hill said. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
In short: The administration will reject all trans students — and their complaints.
While it isn’t shocking that the Department of Education was not moving forward with these matters, it is revolting to hear they are being ignored completely. This point further proves what we knew all along: The administration does not care about trans people and their safety. Furthermore, it shows the intentional erasure of a community that has faced enough marginalization of its own.
The Department of Education is ignoring the complaints of trans students — but what it’s really saying is, “Your concerns are not valid and in turn, you are not valid either.”
The city of Philadelphia may have the backs of trans students, but our federal government still lacks the tools to give them the support they need.
Looks like we’ll have to wait until the 2020 election for even the distinct possibility that things could change.