LGBTQ community leaders raise concerns over bathroom guidance

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN– Transgender community leaders are raising concerns about what happens to the rights of transgender children following the Trump administration’s reversal of bathroom guidance.

Last year, the Obama administration told schools to let students use the restrooms of the gender of which they identify. But while it’s tied up in the court system, the Trump administration is reversing those instructions.

“This gives schools and students more leeway to say I don’t respect that,” Krisztina Inskeep said.

The bathroom debate is one that hits home for her. She’s the mother of a transgender son. She said he went to a private school where he eventually chose not to use the restroom.

“If you can imagine that whole long day going from beginning to end without using the restroom,” Inskeep said.

She was one of five speakers addressing the issue from the offices of the ACLU of Indiana Thursday.

“We must understand that restroom access is a basic human right,” Terrell Parker, a program director at Brothers United, Inc. of Indianapolis, said.

The Trump administration said it should be up to the state and local governments to choose what’s best for kids.

“He is very sympathetic to children who deal with that and that this is up to states and schools within a particular district to address how they want to accommodate that and not, sort of, be prescriptive from Washington,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

The legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, Ken Falk, also addressed the latest guidance, calling it cruel and unnecessary.

“The fact the United States has switched positions on it doesn’t change the fact that under federal statutes I believe this is gender discrimination and we’ll have to see what the courts say,” Falk said.

The state attorney general’s office said since Obama’s guidance is tied up in the legal system, the latest news has no meaningful effect on how the state or its school districts must operate.

It released this statement Thursday:

“We are aware the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education have withdrawn statements of policy and guidance issued under the Obama Administration that, citing Title IX, advised public schools to grant access to sex-segregated facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms based on students’ gender identity rather than strictly their biological sex. In a letter released jointly on Feb. 22 by the two departments, officials advised that “there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

The earlier directives from the Obama Administration, however, already were without effect since a federal court ruled in August of 2016 that the term “sex” in Title IX referred specifically to biological sex and that, in any case, other legal and procedural matters in the directives needed to be resolved before any enforcement could occur.

For Indiana, therefore, the latest statements from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education have no substantive effect on the ways the state and/or its local school districts must operate.”

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