The topic of transgender bathroom rights has been a hotly contested issue between states and the federal government since North Carolina passed a law last March that would require individuals only to use the bathrooms that matched their sex as assigned at birth. Though the Justice Department sued the state, there hasn’t been much progress since: Texas is talking about enacting similar restrictions, and a repeal of North Carolina’s legislation failed.
This week, the Trump administration made its first move away from expanding rights for transgender students. On Friday, the Justice Department filed a legal brief that withdrew its objections to an injunction that had blocked guidance from the Education Department, which required public schools to allow students to use bathrooms that corresponded with their current gender identity, according to the Washington Post. Last year, 12 states filed a lawsuit against the guidance, which the Obama administration responded was a violation of Title IX, a law that says that schools that receive federal funding cannot discriminate against a student’s sex or transgender status.
The move by Trump's Justice Department does not change the current situation for schools of the 12 states named in the Obama administration lawsuit. A judge already sided with the states and the action that Trump's team are putting on hold is an appeal to the decision.
The brief was filed in the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and upheld that the suing states and the Justice Department “are currently considering how to best proceed in this appeal” and are withdrawing an oral argument set for February 14, Buzzfeed reports.
Though early in his campaign Trump said transgender individuals should use whatever bathroom they like, his administration appears to be pivoting. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Huffington Post, “We saw this coming, and it’s not a surprise.”
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