Welcome to the next chapter in the Trump administration’s war on LGBTQ rights: According to reporting by BuzzFeed on Monday, an Education Department official confirmed they will not investigate complaints made by transgender students who are banned from using restrooms matching their gender identity.
“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. 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,” Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, told BuzzFeed.
This is the first time the Education Department has officially affirmed that this is how they are interpreting Title IX law, which bans discrimination on the ambiguous “basis of sex.” However, the Education Department’s stance conflicts with the rulings of two federal courts which found that Title IX does indeed cover transgender students’ right to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
Trump’s first year is office saw the continual erosion of the rights of LGBTQ people. In October, Jeff Sessions reversed a key policy that protected transgender workers from discrimination. And then, of course, there was Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military. The Education Department’s quiet decision that it will not investigate bathroom complaints is not the first—nor will it likely be the last—attack on transgender people in this country.