The Trump administration signaled Friday that it was changing course on the previous administration’s efforts to expand transgender rights, submitting a legal brief withdrawing the government’s objections to an injunction that had blocked guidance requiring that transgender students be allowed to use restrooms that match their gender identity.
The move by the Justice Department does not immediately change the situation for the nation’s public schools, as a federal judge had already put a temporary hold on the guidance as a lawsuit by a dozen states moved through the courts.
But it suggests that the Trump administration will take a different approach on the issue of transgender rights, which many conservatives thought went too far under President Obama.
And how the administration decides to proceed on the particular issue of transgender students and bathroom use would affect several other cases in which students are challenging their school districts’ policies, including one involving Virginia student Gavin Grimm, which is set to be heard by the Supreme Court later this spring.
The brief, filed in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, came as part of a long-running suit by 12 states opposed to Education Department guidance issued last year directing the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. The Obama administration took the position that barring students from bathrooms that matched their gender identity was a violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in public schools.