PINECREST, FLA. (WSVN) - From students in Pinecrest to transgender activists across the country, people are speaking out, Thursday, just one day after President Trump reversed federal guidance that allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
The Trump Administration withdrew the Obama Administration’s guidance on transgender bathrooms, Wednesday, saying it should be up to the individual state to determine whether transgender students in public schools should be able to use the bathroom of their choice.
Now, students, activists, and government officials are speaking out over the legitimate concern and confusion this has caused so many.
“Very worrisome for my community,” said former student Eli Drummond.
Drummond described the daily struggle a transgender student experiences. “Bathrooms, of course, locker rooms, it was extremely overwhelming for me and I couldn’t function on a level that made going to school beneficial to me, ” Drummond said.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen responded to the decision by the Trump administration with a statement: “This lamentable decision can lead to hostile treatment of transgender students… (Rep. Jared Polis) and I introduced our student non-discrimination act bill to prevent discrimination of transgender young people and we will re-introduce it because our country benefits when everyone is accepted and we live up to our nation’s promise of inclusiveness.”
Ros-Lehtinen’s son, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, a transman and local force for LGBT rights, voiced his opinion on the mater.
“It really sends a message that the White House does not have your back if you happen to be transgender,” Heng-Lehtinen said.
The new guidance rejects the inclusion of gender identity in the interpretation of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools.
“Removing the guidance really increases confusion,” Heng-Lehtinen said. “It makes it so that now, if you’re a principal at a local high school, one of your students comes out as transgender, you don’t know what you’re supposed to do.”
In a press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the issue is not a federal issue but a state issue.
Both the Miami-Dade and Broward County superintendents said their counties already had guidelines in place to protect their transgender students, and will continue to follow them.
“We have a moral, legal and ethical obligation in ensuring that the rights of all of our children are protected,” said Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “We have anti-discriminatory policies in place.”
“The announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United States Department of Education will not — it will not have an impact on how our schools operate,” Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said.
The new guidance leaves it to the states and school districts to decide the access to restrooms.
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