This morning I woke to devastating news from America regarding transgender rights. President Trump has made the decision to revoke guidance to US public schools that allowed transgender students to use toilets that matched their gender identify. The Trump administration sent a letter to all schools outlining the changes, stating that the previous measures had caused confusion. President Obama’s ‘Bathroom Bill’ was contested in some communities, with protesters saying it threatened the privacy and safety of other students.
The last 24 hours has seen a backlash against President Trump, who has previously said he would uphold the changes made by his predecessor. The transgender community and their allies have taken to social media and the streets to protest this appalling injustice. Young people who are questioning their gender identity or who already identify as transgender require support, compassion and love rather than being made to feel ostracised from society. I have no idea how Obama’s changes caused confusion. To me it was crystal clear: transgender students could use the toilet that matched their gender identity ensuring that they felt safe and secure in their schools. Rescinding the transgender bathroom rules will cause confusion and, most importantly, will make transgender youth feel isolated and unsafe in a place where they should feel included and protected.
These changes will not only harm transgender students for the four years that President Trump is in office, it will harm them for many years to come. What message does this send to the youth of America and, indeed, across the whole world? The message from President Trump is loud and clear: if you are transgender you are not offered the same rights as everyone else. Trump has vowed to be a President for all Americans; today that promise is further from the truth than ever.