Public schools in the nation's two largest school districts will continue to support their transgender students despite the Trump administration revoking guidances to school districts advising them to uphold trans children's right to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.
The New York City and Los Angeles school districts have reinforced this week that transgender students will continue to be supported in schools in both cities.
New York City has had policies in place since 2014 that say that transgender students can use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity and further provides guidance to staff on how to use respectful pronouns for trans children.
"The DOE’s Transgender Guidelines have been in place since 2014 and remain in effect in all NYC public schools,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement to DNAInfo. “We are dedicated to ensuring every student is provided with a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment in all school buildings, and that includes allowing students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.”
The L.A. Unified School District''s president, Steve Zimmer, released a statement Thursday afternoon re-affirming the district's commitment to protect trans students.
"The Los Angeles Board of Education refuses to withdraw our commitment to the safety and dignity of our transgender students. For that reason, every student in this nation’s second-largest school district will continue to use the facilities that match their identity. This practice, in effect for a decade, will not change," he wrote:
The guidances withdrawn by the Department of Education, while not legally binding, set an expectation from the federal government that school districts should protect their trans students' rights and allow them access to bathrooms that align with their gender identities.
The DOJ and DOE letter sent Wednesday makes it clear that under Trump, the federal government views transgender rights as a state- and district-level issue. School districts across the country have different approaches to their trans students. Some, like the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia, prohibit trans students from using the bathroom in line with their gender identity. That's the county at the center of the case that will go before the Supreme Court this year. Others, including New York City, LA, and Minneapolis, have taken a strong public stance against transphobia.
LGBTQ advocates and lawyers say that under Title IX protections against sex-based discrimination, transgender students should be protected regardless of an individual school district or state's stance.