AP Confused About Which President Made Transgender Bathrooms A Federal Issue
A report from the Associated Press on transgender bathrooms in Ireland and other parts of the world neglects to note which U.S. president first brought the force of the federal government into the transgender bathroom issue.
An article published Friday claims that “Donald Trump and U.S. courts seek to make transgender use of toilets an American battleground in school,” which leaves “other nations shaking heads at U.S. transgender toilet battle.”
President Barack Obama’s directive to schools on letting children use the bathroom they wish has already led court fights, as Texas and 12 other states have sued the government over the vague guidance.
In Ireland, which the AP says is “bewildered” by Trump’s Wednesday policy, the guidelines about transgenders’ bathroom use look more like Trump’s version. At the end of the article, the AP points out that Ireland’s regulations on which bathroom transgender students can use looks more like Trump’s rules.
Ireland’s “guidelines are not law or mandatory,” Catherine Cross, who advises schools on transgender issues, told the AP. “Irish schools have a lot of autonomy to do what they see fit.” The autonomy leads to many schools treating the issue fairly. “On the whole they are pretty decent to trans kids. But they don’t have to be,” Cross said.
“This is an issue best solved at the state and local level,” Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, said of Trump’s action in a statement Thursday. “Schools, communities and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.”
Still, the AP says that in Ireland, Norway, and progressive places in South America, “schools let children go to the bathroom that suits their identity,” and that if the U.S. debate travels overseas, that trend could be reversed.
Somewhat ironically, the U.S. Department of State under Obama introduced a program to help send American activists to Ireland fight for gay and transgender protections within Irish society.
The debate of bathroom use draws emotional reactions from both sides of the issue. “Our daughters should never be forced to share private, intimate spaces with male classmates, even if those young men are struggling with these issues,” Vicki Wilson, part of Students and Parents for Privacy, told the AP Thursday. “It violates their right to privacy and harms their dignity.”
On the other side, Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Trump’s inauguration, said she is “disappointed” at Trump’s move. Evancho’s sibling identifies as a transgender woman, and has faced bullying at school.
The Supreme Court sill hear the case of Gavin Grimm, who sued the Gloucester County school board in Virginia after the school refused to let Grimm use the boys’ locker room, and built unisex private changing rooms instead.
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