Reversal of Transgender Students’ Protections “Callous and Spiteful” says Center for Inquiry

For Immediate Release: February 23, 2017
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785

The Center for Inquiry denounced the announcement by the Trump administration yesterday that it would reverse the guidance issued by the Obama administration requiring that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom which corresponded to their gender identity.

As a result of this policy change, championed by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, policy towards transgender students will be left to individual states and school districts to determine.

“This is a callous and spiteful act on the part of the President. The basic rights of our most vulnerable students should not be left to the whims of states and individual localities,” said Nicholas Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “The resulting patchwork quilt of regulations will subject transgender students in much of the country to discrimination by school administrations, and leave them unprotected from bullying by fellow students and school employees.”

CFI, which advocates for reason, science, and humanist values, characterized this latest change in government policy as yet another gift to the religious right from the Trump administration. During his campaign, Donald Trump expressed support for permitting transgender individuals to use the bathrooms of their choice. The issue, however, has become a cause celebre for conservative Christians, who seem determined to keep the transgender community isolated and afraid.

“American history has shown that leaving basic civil rights to be determined by states and localities leaves people in some areas of the country behind,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s Director of Governmental Affairs. “The Trump administration has shown its willingness to leave some of the most marginalized children in America subjected to hate motivated by religious dogma.”

“As secular humanists, CFI believes in treating all individuals with dignity and respect,” said De Dora. “Shamefully, transgender students regularly face discrimination and persecution, resulting in a shockingly high rate of suicide and self harm in that community. The federal government has a responsibility to take the lead in protecting vulnerable groups. The Trump administration has decided instead to look the other way as these kids suffer. That is unfortunate.”


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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at