AUSTIN, TX -The Trump administration’s move to rescind Obama-era transgender students’ protections, which allows them to use bathrooms and facilities in public schools that correspond with their gender identities, has the Texas attorney general feeling hopeful.
Texas Attorney General Paxton finds the action encouraging, leaving his office evaluating what impact it will have on ongoing litigation.
“Our fight over the bathroom directive has always been about former President Obama’s attempt to bypass Congress and rewrite the laws to fit his political agenda for radical social change,” Paxton said in a statement. “The Obama administration’s directive on bathrooms unlawfully invaded areas that are left to state discretion under the Tenth Amendment. School policy should center on the safety, privacy, and dignity of its students, not the whims federal bureaucrats.”
After the federal education and justice departments issued guidance in May directing schools to let transgender students use facilities that correspond with their gender identities, Paxton filed a suit on behalf of Texas and other states. The guidance, which was sent to school districts and colleges that received federal funding, outlined schools’ responsibilities toward non-discrimination in compliance with Title IX.
Paxton’s suit resulted in a nationwide injunction barring federal agencies from penalizing schools that resisted the guidance. The federal justice department under the Obama administration challenged the injunction. Hearings on the issue were to be heard in February. However, a few days prior to Trump’s decision to rescind the rights, the justice department withdrew its challenge. The department and the states filed a joint motion to cancel the hearings, and the parties are discussing how they should proceed on the issue.
The Trump administration’s recent move is considered a significant victory for opponents of the Obama administration's guidelines. Opponents believe the federal government shouldn't have become involved in the issue.
Activists of the LGBTQ community and civil rights groups, called Trump’s action politically-motivated attack that will put transgender children in danger and further muddy the waters over the federal government's role in enforcing civil rights.
Additionally, Paxton is involved in another filing related to transgender protection rights. Texas and seven other states had a high-ranking official sign a brief supporting a rehearing of G.G. vs. the Gloucester County School Board, according to past news reports. The case resulted in allowing the U.S. Department of Education to include gender identity in the term sex.