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Trump: Yanks transgender rights, Thursday fallout

The Trump administration lifted federal transgender bathroom guidelines, . | AP file photo

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump, who said during his campaign he did not care which bathroom Caitlin Jenner used at Trump Tower, is facing fallout on Thursday in the wake of his administration yanking federal protections for transgender students.

Breaking Thursday morning: Quigley reacts

Rep. Mike Quigley D-Ill., vice chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus and a founding member of the Transgender Equality Task Force, said in a broadside against the Trump administration ruling:

“As if being a kid wasn’t hard enough, President Trump wants to make it even harder for transgender students who are simply seeking a safe and supportive school community where they can learn, grow, and thrive. The Administration’s decision to roll back transgender student protections shows that President Trump is set on abandoning his campaign promise to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination.

“To worried transgender students across the nation, Democrats stand with you. All students, including those in the LGBT community, are protected by the Constitution and Title IX, regardless of this Administration’s attempt to undermine equality and security for all. As Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and a founding member of the Transgender Equality Task Force, I will fight with everything I have to protect transgender children from the shameful and despicable attempts to strip away their rights. Every American, regardless of gender identity, deserves to be treated with respect, and we will ensure that happens.”

Also…Rep. Robin Kelly D-Ill., said, “No student should go to school and face discrimination because of who they are. All children have a right to a quality, fear-free education.

“Attacking defenseless children who simply want to go to school isn’t the type of education leadership that makes us better as a nation. Today’s action shows just how far this Administration’s policies are from uniting us as a country. If we are to create a brighter future for this nation, we must protect the rights of all children and the LGBT community.”

TRANSGENDER RULING LEADS MORNING SHOWS

The morning news shows highlighted protests outside the White House on Wednesday, after the Department of Education and Justice Department rescinded Obama-era rules that let transgender students use public school bathrooms that matched up with their gender identity.

So far this Thursday, Trump has kept off Twitter.

TRANSGENDER RULING – WHY NOW?

Backstory: With everything Trump has on his plate – with positions to fill, a budget to submit to Congress next month, a wall to build – why take on transgender rights when it was not a campaign issue for him?

The decision from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on transgender students is pegged to a matter of fate: On March 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Virginia high school student Gavin Grimm. Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board after the board installed a policy barring him from using the boy’s bathroom – even though the administrators at his school said it was OK.

You can read the documents in that case here.

THE ILLINOIS ANGLE

Submitting briefs in support of Grimm were the Lambda Legal Defense and Education fund in Chicago and the Gender & Sex Development Program at Chicago’s Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

So how, exactly did the Trump administration revoke the Obama rules?

Technically, it went like this: The Department of Justice and the Department of Education withdrew guidance issued under former President Barack Obama in 2015 and 2016 that let an individual’s gender identity prevail in bathroom decisions at public schools.

The federal law at issue is is Title IX — that bans sex-based discrimination in schools. Title IX is most closely associated with sports equity laws. The Obama administration said it also covered transgender rights.

Statement from Sessions: “The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce the law. The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance. Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

Statement from DeVos on the new Title IX guidance: “We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate. At my direction, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.

“The guidance issued by the previous administration has given rise to several legal questions. As a result, a federal court in August 2016 issued a nationwide injunction barring the Department from enforcing a portion of its application. Since that time, the Department has not enforced that part of the guidance, thus there is no immediate impact to students by rescinding this guidance.

“This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students.

“I have dedicated my career to advocating for and fighting on behalf of students, and as Secretary of Education, I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America.

“We owe all students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

MEANWHILE, WHAT ABOUT THAT NEW TRAVEL BAN?

Noting…It’s already Thursday and that revised travel ban Trump promised for this week has yet to materialize.

Watching… As Trump moves on repealing and replacing Obamacare when Congress comes back next week… and Trump readies his first budget, to be submitted next month, will a new army of people with pre-existing medical conditions be rising?

TRUMP TODAY..LISTENING SESSIONS

Trump leads two listening sessions, one with manufacturing CEOs, another with people involved fighting domestic and international human trafficking.

In the afternoon, Trump talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada over the telephone. At night, he will attend a dinner with The Business Council.

Attending from Illinois companies..Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar

Juan Luciano, ADM