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Onthe 15th of May, 2016, former Democratic President Barack Obamaissued an executive order instructing all the public schools in theU.S. to let transgender students use the lavatories of the genderthey identified with even if it did not match the ones indicated intheir birth certificates (Thomas, 2016). The author notes thatPresident Obama made the order saying that it was based on ourcountry`s anti-discrimination laws and that it was envisioned for thebest interests of transgender children attending public schools inthe U.S.
Consideringthat the law sheltered transgender children from being ostracized,bullied, and discriminated, Trotta (2017) observes that it was a hugevictorious leap for the fight of their civil rights. Quite thereverse, some Republican-affiliated states like Kansas and NorthCarolina were irritated by the guidelines and sued Obama`sadministration. In total, 11 states were up against the transgenderbathroom policy but Obama`s administration applied it irrespective ofthe resistance (Trotta, 2017).
However,on the 22nd of February, 2017, Republican President Donald Trumpannulled the Obama transgender policy arguing that it had to bewithdrawn because it did not go through an exhaustive public vettingprocess, presented legal issues, and lacked extensive legalexamination (Somashekhar, Brown, & Balingit, 2017). What`s more,President Trump`s administration contended that states and publicschools had the right to establish educational policiesindependently. Rescinding the transgender rules was one of PresidentTrump`s tactics to lessening government involvement in conscripting anational education policy (Somashekhar, Brown, & Balingit, 2017).
Additionally,President Obama`s transgender rule was annulled because PresidentDonald Trump claimed that it gave potential sexual predators easyaccess to washrooms, which made bathrooms an unsafe environment forschool going children (Peters, Becker, & Davis, 2017). Regardlessof the fact that this announcement was applauded by socialconservatives loyal to President Trump, it was not well received bysome Americans. To show displeasure, groups of people gathered andprotested outside the White House chanting: "Nohate, no fear, trans students are welcome here."The peaceful demonstrators were waving rainbow flags, which is asymbol of the members of the LGBT community (Peters, Becker, &Davis, 2017).
Indisputably,President Trump`s resolution to rescind close to a year`s progress inthe protection of the rights of school going transgender children haselicited mixed reactions. This is because even if the whole issueseems to be a state`s issue, it is more than that because it directlyaffects the civil rights of transgender children growing in the U.S.As I had mentioned earlier, President Obama devised the rule based onour country`s anti-discrimination laws. The problems the bathroomrule was applied to solve were the recurrent issues of harassment,bullying, and discrimination of transgender children based on theirgender identity all of which are civil concerns. Therefore,President Trump`s decision to withdraw his predecessor`s restroompolicy is prickly because it has implications for the civil rights oftransgender children growing up in the U.S.
Frommy point of perspective, the bone of contention emerges from onefundamental concern: the welfare of transgender children at school.As we all know, learning institutions in the U.S. have a legalobligation to provide a safe learning environment for all studentsirrespective of their personal social orientations. Part of creatinga safe learning environment is ensuring that no students are bullied,harassed, or discriminated against based on their sexual identity. Byapplying the transgender policy during his administration, PresidentObama was pursuing the creation of a safe learning environment inwhich transgender children would acquire knowledge devoid of anydiscriminatory engagements.
Apparently,the concept of safeguarding the welfare of transgender children atschool is different from President Trump`s viewpoint. According toPresident Trump, President Obama`s policy threatened the safety ofchildren in school because sexual predators would gain easy access tothe washrooms of both genders. I have to say that on this particularpoint, I concur with President Trump. It is true that a sexualpredator can sneak into the washrooms of either gender unnoticed andpossibly commit a sexual crime. It is accurate that in such ascenario, school washrooms can threaten the safety of students in alearning institution.
However,the fact that does not sit well with me is President Trump`s notionof safeguarding the security of children in learning institutionsacross the U.S. by denying special students some of their civilrights. In the constitution of the U.S., there are clauses clearlyhighlighting the most basic of human rights, which include the rightof not being discriminated. To this effect, I am certain thatPresident Trump`s withdrawal of the transgender bathroom rule isdiscriminatory because it takes back some of the civil rightsbequeathed upon transgender children by the Constitution of the U.S.
Theremoval of the transgender bathroom policy by President Trump`sadministration will not deter a sexual predator from gaining accessto a school`s washroom. A sexual predator can gain access to anyinstitution`s washroom because all it takes is sheer determinationnot the existence of the bathroom policy. The only thing PresidentTrump`s policy withdrawal does is deny transgender children theircivil right of not being discriminated. He is denying them theircivil rights in exchange of heightenedsecurity. I can best explain this with the age old anecdote of givinga child candy with the right hand and taking it with the left.
Mymajor concern with the withdrawal of President Obama`s bathroompolicy is that it will cause a contamination of the social fabricthat binds the citizens of our beloved nation. The cancellation ofthe bathroom rule will worsen incidences of harassment anddiscrimination because transgender children will be exposed to severeharassment if they are found using a washroom they subjectivelyidentify themselves with (which the society does not expect them touse). The next thing we will see is the discrimination of transgenderchildren in more places beyond the restroom. We will see incidencesof transgender discrimination in school buses, playgrounds, dininghalls, and classes (just to mention but a few). Such discriminatoryexperiences will negatively affect the self-esteem andself-perception of transgender children growing up in the U.S., whichwill be depicted by social withdrawal.
Theother concern I have with the bathroom issue is that the attitude ofdiscrimination might spill into other scopes of life. If PresidentTrump`s perception is preserved, then Americans might transfer thisnegative transgender discernment to start viewing others in terms oftheir race, color, and ethnic background. Discrimination on thesegrounds exists in the 21st century America, but the withdrawal of thebathroom policy might magnify the occurrence of discriminatorycircumstances. The outcome will be a contaminated American societydivided on the grounds of gender orientation, race, color, and ethnicbackground. If this happens, then the social fabric that bindsAmericans will have been contaminated. As Americans, we have coveredso much mileage to turn our backs against others simply because oftheir seeminglydifferent sexual identities. Even though President Trump is destinedto make America great again, I surely hope that this bathroomargument will not blur our vision of maintaining our status quo asthe most powerful country in the world.
Peters,J. W., Becker, J., & Davis, J. H. (2017, February 22). TrumpRescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students. Retrieved March21, 2017, fromhttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/us/politics/devos-sessions-transgender-students-rights.html?_r=0
Somashekhar,S., Brown, E., & Balingit, M. (2017, February 22). Trumpadministration rolls back protections for transgender students.Retrieved March 21, 2017, fromhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/trump-administration-rolls-back-protections-for-transgender-students/2017/02/22/550a83b4-f913-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?utm_term=.0d454e1910a7
ThomasN | Featured Commentator | May 5, 2016 1:45PM. (2016, May 05).BREAKING: Obama Just Made A Massive Move About TransgenderBathrooms… Retrieved March 21, 2017, fromhttp://thepoliticalinsider.com/breaking-obama-just-made-massive-move-transgender-bathrooms/
Trotta,D. (2017, February 23). Trump revokes Obama guidelines on transgenderbathrooms. Retrieved March 21, 2017, fromhttp://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-lgbt idUSKBN161243