On Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s administration rescinded a guidance allowing transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity in public schools. While the Obama era guidance clarified that trans students are federally protected from sex discrimination under Title IX, the Trump administration said that it wants to leave LGBTQ rights to the states. Rescinding the guidance opens the door to discrimination against trans students at this level, and sends the message that the government will not stand up for the nation’s most vulnerable kids.
A common claim that opponents of such protections for trans students make is that allowing transgender people into bathrooms endangers cisgender women and girls. In his much discussed appearance on “Real Time,” alt-right former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos told host Bill Maher that he “makes no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexual identity.” This argument perpetuates the myth that trans people are predators, when they are far more likely to face violence and harassment in restrooms at the hands of cis people.
Yet, Yiannopoulos’s line is a common refrain that continues to be used by those who care little about real, not mythical, violence against women. When walking back LGBTQ protections or promoting so-called “bathroom bills,” proponents of such legislation have said that allowing trans people to use the appropriate restroom means men can “enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,” and that businesses that allow trans people to use the appropriate restroom pose “a danger to wives and daughters.”
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