If states are the test labs of federal policy, North Carolina’s attempt to ban transgender people from public bathrooms and trans students from the locker rooms and bathrooms that match their gender should be proof that the law failed. The NCAA, the NBA, musicians, and businesses all walked away from the state over the law. Even the most generous estimate states that North Carolina has lost over $70 million over HB 2. So the Trump administration reversing Obama-era protections for transgender students has left many not only offended and horrified, but baffled as well.
The justification from the Attorney General’s office is that the protections were unclear as regards to Title IX, which protects students based upon “sex” in the text of the law. Some wonder whether that language means gender identity is also protected. Reactions have been swift and largely uncharitable. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that New York state ordinances still applied and that his office believed that Title IX applied in this situation:
The Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, took a similar stance on Facebook:
Transgender students deserve what every kid deserves – a fair shot at succeeding in school. The City of Philadelphia will continue to stand with transgender students even if the Federal government refuses to.
Apple, which signed on to fight HB 2, saw CEO Tim Cook criticize the decision in a company-wide email:
Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections.
And Ellen DeGeneres weighed in on Twitter:
The main question now, for trans rights, is twofold. The first is the fate of various laws similar to HB 2, which are on file in twelve states: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claims that this issue should be settled on the “state and local” level. The second is how and when the issue of whether Title IX protections extend to gender identity. If so, then the issue, state law or not, is settled for good.
(via Twitter and Mashable)