The Trump administration is now taking away protections from transgender students.
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education officially withdrew the statements and policies from the Obama administration that protect trans students—particularly restroom policies.
But Portland State University, where you can identify as one of nine genders, with another nine sexual orientations, says that the repeal will not affect its gender-neutral restroom policies, nor their transgender students.
"My understanding of the Trump directive is it would go back to the states and the state of Oregon is already pretty clear on that issue. There are some states in the country that challenged Obama's directive on transgender identity bathrooms," says PSU spokesperson Chris Broderick. "We're certainly not going to be affected. There's just not an issue at all on who can use what bathroom and that's not going to change at PSU."
In May 2016, a letter issued by the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ and the DOE, sent to schools that receive federal funding, said the feds interpret "sex discrimination" under Title IX, a federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, to include gender identity—or schools could lose federal funds.
The letter that came from the Trump administration today withdrew those protections, writing that the documents "do not contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process." It goes on to say that "there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy."
It then says, "All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions supported the guidance, writing, "Congress, state legislatures and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue."
If the decision does go back to the states, it's likely that Oregon would uphold Obama's guidance.
As reported by OPB, the Oregon School Boards Association attorney Spencer Lewis said that state law does protect transgender students, and that Oregon is allowed to go beyond federal guidelines to protect certain groups of people.
And last May, the Oregon Department of Education laid out a 15-page report of guidelines for school districts to create a safe school environment for transgender students. The document clarifies that Title IX protects transgender and gender nonconforming students, and clarifies the definition of "sexual orientation."
“Oregon law broadly defines, “sexual orientation” as an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, regardless of whether the individual’s gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual’s sex at birth.”