US President Donald Trump reversed a regulation proclaimed by Barack Obama, obligating public schools around the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and dressing rooms they prefer according to the gender with which they identify.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday announced in a statement that the Trump administration had decided to suspend the measure because it produced too much confusion on the local level and did not include sufficient constitutional legal analysis, Efe news reported.
The reversal of the rule now leaves it up to states and school districts to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity.
In May 2016, the Obama administration had issued guidance to US public schools requiring them to treat transgender students according to their gender identity, even if that were different than their sex at birth.
The Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School estimated in a study that there are about 150,000 13-to 17-year-olds in this country who identify themselves as transgender.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily press briefing on Wednesday that Trump “is a firm believer in states’ rights, and certain issues like this are best not dealt with at the federal level”.
According to CBS News, Sessions reportedly believes that the matter is a legal issue, not a policy issue.
Where the Obama administration originally argued that transgender bathroom use is governed by the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education-related activities, Sessions believes that the law intends no protection for “sexual identity”, if different from a person’s sex on their birth certificate.