The Department of Education will not investigate any of the complaints transgender students have lodged against schools that ban them from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, BuzzFeed reports. According to BuzzFeed, this is the first time the administration has asserted this position publicly.
In February of 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration’s guidance on transgender students in bathrooms, which demanded that school officials allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. The guidance was an interpretation of federal statute Title IX.
The education department said that some types of transgender discrimination can still be applicable under Title IX, but not bathroom discrimination.
“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,” Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the department, told BuzzFeed. “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.”
The move is the latest in a long line of deliberate steps to undermine LGBTQ Americans’ rights. Recently, attorney general Jeff Sessions reversed a policy protecting transgender workers, issued memos opening up LGBTQ people to discrimination and declared that a Christian bakery has the right to refuse service to queer Americans. Trump has tried to ban transgender people from the military.
Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told BuzzFeed that the decision “marks a shift in position for the Education Department that is particularly remarkable in light of case law.” Tobin also said the department is set to “ignore the law in favor of their ideology.”