The California Department of Education reacted angrily Wednesday to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw President Barack Obama’s federal guidelines on transgender facilities in public schools.
The Obama administration urged schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their “gender identity,” as opposed to biological sex. That could have resulted in anatomically male students undressing in front of female students, for example, and vice versa.
The new policy rescinds that guidance, in the face of legal challenges, because it “did not contain extensive legal analysis,” did not explain how it was consistent with the legal requirements of gender equality, and did not “undergo any formal public process.” The policy now reverts to what it was before, which leaves decisions on transgender issues to “States and local school districts.”
Nevertheless, California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, issued a strident press release on Wednesday vowing that the Golden State will protect the “rights of transgender students.”
“All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment. California will continue to work to provide that environment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students regardless of any misguided directives by the federal government and the Trump administration,” Torlakson said.
“California students will continue to have their civil rights protected,” he said. “In California we move forward, not backward.”
It is not clear which civil rights were violated by Trump’s withdrawal of guidelines for transgender students, since the directive leaves California’s power to regulate its own schools intact.
The highest estimate of the proportion of adults in the United States who identify as “transgender” is 0.6%. The percentage of children who have determined that they are of a gender other than that defined by their biological sex is likely even smaller.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.