The Trump administration has been taking some significant heat from its own conservative base in recent days for appearing to ‘go wobbly’ on certain promises made during the presidential campaign, particularly on the issues of immigration and the federal budget, with many frustrated and disappointed conservative supporters saying they feel betrayed and deceived.
Many others take a more cautious approach, counseling patience and faith, believing President Trump is pursuing a longer-term grand strategy that will become apparent over the coming months. Only time will tell.
However, in a major ongoing skirmish taking place on one of the larger fronts of the Culture War, the Trump administration appears to be making a stand. According to one popular news site, the U.S. Department of Education has officially declared that complaints filed by ‘transgender’ public school students claiming discrimination because they were made to use the bathroom that corresponded to their biological gender will no longer be investigated, nor will any action be taken. In other words, when boys are told the must use the boy’s room and girls are told to use the girl’s room, and they don’t like it and complain, the DoE said speak to the hand, we don’t want to hear it.
According to BuzzFeedNews, a left-wing news and juvenile topics website popular with younger Americans, their reporters recently launched a three-week campaign of phone calls and emails to the DoE seeking confirmation of the department’s position on this vitally important social issue.
Eventually the DoE responded through spokeswoman Liz Hill. When asked by BuzzFeed if the DoE considers transgender students not to be included in Title IX protections, she answered ““Yes, that’s what the law says. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”
However, when pressed, Ms. Hill seemed to back off a bit on her statement, saying that some types of complaints could be investigated under Title IX, just not those involving bathrooms. She further explained, “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,” Hill said. “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.”
Some might find that explanation about as clear as mud. But, it was seen as a victory for the intrepid BuzzFeed investigators, who claimed that this was the first time an administration official has confirmed this position, though they pointed out that a formal announcement has yet to be made.
For the first year of Trump’s presidency his administration has taken a slow and easy approach to the issue, saying it was still being studied. However, last February both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice renounced Obama-era guidelines on transgender bathroom access, which had commanded schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their choice, based on whatever gender identity they happened to perceive themselves to be on any given day.
In a email response to BuzzFeed, Catherine Lhamon, who was head of the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights under Obama, defended the old policy and attacked the new, saying, “Until now, the official position of the Department has been that Title IX protects all students and that they were evaluating how that protection applies to the issue of bathroom access. This new categorical bar of civil rights protection for transgender children required to attend schools every day ignores the text of the law, courts’ interpretation of the law, the stated position of the Department to date, and human decency.”
However, whether the Democrats and the Left like it or not, there’s a new administration it town. Last June, The current head of the DoE’s Office for Civil Rights penned a memo saying that it was permissible for transgender complaints concerning restrooms to be dismissed without investigation. And a DoJ official told BuzzFeed that “The Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided. The Department of Justice remains firmly committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, and will aggressively enforce all civil rights laws enacted by Congress.” implying that they considered the law settled and that transgender individuals were not covered under Title IX.
The decisions in the lower courts on the issue have been mixed and inconclusive, and though the 7th Circuit Court recently found in a Wisconsin case that transgenders were protected under Title IX, the case was settled out of court before it could move on the the Supreme Court.
Although the Trump administration is taking the stand that its Christian and conservative base would fully support and cheer, it’s doing so in a hesitant and wishy-washy way. It’s time to take a firm and decisive stance on this gadfly of an issue.
~ 1776 Christian