The Donald Trump administration is expected to issue new guidance pertaining to transgender student bathroom protections in public schools, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday.
After it was reported by The Washington Blade that unnamed "reliable sources" have disclosed that the Trump administration plans to rescind the Barack Obama administration's guidance telling public schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, Spicer was questioned about the speculation in a press briefing later in the day.
After it was announced last week that the Trump administration dropped the federal court defense of the Departments of Justice and Education's transgender bathroom guidance issued last year, Spicer asserted Tuesday that "the president has maintained for a long time that this is a states' rights issue and not one for the federal government."
Spicer then assured that the administration will "have further guidance coming out on this."
"I think that all you have to do is look at what the president's view has been for a long time, that this is not something the federal government should be involved in, that this is a states' rights issue," Spicer explained.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a joint letter from the Departments of Justice and Education will be sent to the schools nationwide that will inform them that the administration is withdrawing the Obama-era guidance that claimed that preventing transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity is a violation of sex discrimination laws.
The Obama-era guidance is facing a lawsuit brought on behalf of several states. The federal government was blocked from implementing the guidance in federal court last year.
"This interpretation has given rise to significant litigation," the two-page draft obtained by The Washington Post explained, adding that parents and school officials have "struggled" to comprehend the guidance.
"[The departments] have decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further consider the legal issues involved," the draft explains.
The draft also asserts that "schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment."
An operative with knowledge of the letter told The Post that it would likely be issued on Wednesday.
News of the potential rescinding of the Obama-era guidance has not sat well with LGBT advocates, who claim that Trump would be getting rid of vital protections for transgender children.
"Such clear action directed at children would be a brazen and shameless attack on hundreds of thousands of young Americans who must already defend themselves against schoolyard bullies, but are ill-equipped to fight bullies on the floors of their state legislatures and in the White House," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, asserted in a statement.
Meanwhile, such potential guidance from the Trump administration would sit well with social conservatives, who staunchly opposed the Obama-era edict and called on Trump to repeal it. Opponents have argued that the Obama guidance violates the privacy rights of students.
Ryan Anderson, a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, told USA Today that the Obama guidance is unlawful because Title IX protects students on the basis of sex, not gender identity. However, the Obama administration has conflated Title IX sex protections to also apply to gender identity.
"It's understandable when a 16-year-old girl might not want an anatomical male in the shower or the locker room," Anderson said.