On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the Trump administration rescinded federal guidelines that protect transgender students’ rights to use restrooms that align with their gender identification (a protection that was first implemented by the Obama administration). President Donald Trump claims that this is a way to give power back to the states by permitting parents and school administrations to give their own input on the matter and create guidelines based on those inputs. However, for the transgender students who are getting their rights stripped from them, this is nothing less than a slap to the face.
While the Trump administration attempts to portray its decision as a chivalrous act with the intention of giving power back to the states and their education systems, it is crucial to consider the egregious effects that this decision will have on transgender students. Because of the Trump administration’s elimination of these protections, transgender students are now unprotected by the law and therefore more susceptible to bullying, persecution and censure.
U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have responded to the concerns by claiming that while the guidance is lifted, anti-bullying safeguards will not be affected. However, this serves as an empty and ignorant promise, for the rescinding of protection guidelines for transgender students is already a severe breach of anti-bullying safeguards, and if anything, it increases the discrimination these students will face when having to choose a restroom. Moreover, this promise is highly hypocritical, since, as part of the Trump administration, the justice and education departments play part in the instigation of bullying by allowing this protection to be lifted. Ergo, it doesn’t matter how many promises are made in relation to preemptive measures that will be taken for bullying; these students will be ridiculed more than ever because of the Trump administration’s thoughtless decision.
Another reason why this decision is all the more shocking and angering is because in the past, Trump has made promises during his campaign to support protections for gay and transgender people, yet, his new decision serves as a stupendous contradiction. Thus, when it comes to the actions of the Trump administration, there is not only indignance toward the negative effect this will have on transgender students, but also immense antipathy toward the administration’s lack of respect for the lives of the transgender community. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality has also voiced her antipathy toward Trump by stating, “Attacking our children (…) is no way to say you support and respect LGBTQ people.”
How could Trump so easily disregard the promise that he made to the LGBTQ community in the past? Does he not realize that by rescinding transgender student protections, he is inaugurating a mass of tribulations for the transgender community? If there isn’t a law that necessitates the equal treatment of transgender students, how does one expect citizens of the United States to give the transgender community the respect it deserves? There is no better way to ensure fair treatment of a certain group of people than through law, but in this case, it is notable to recognize that this ideology works in reversal as well. Hence, if there is no law to ensure fair treatment, then between the chances of fair and unfair treatment being given, the latter will supercede.
As president of the United States, it is Trump’s responsibility to ensure that every citizen is receiving fair and equal treatment in order to achieve his or her fullest potential. But with this new reckless decision, he completely disregards the detrimental effects it will have on ethics and thus, shows his true incompetence as president. Moreover, Trump must be held accountable for the pre-existing difficulties in addition to the new trials that these victimized transgender students will have to face due to his mindlessness and incompetence.