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The Trump administration has made it official: The departments of Justice and Education have withdrawn the “policy and guidance” issued last year by the Obama administration on how to protect the rights of transgender children. The previous administration saw this as a problem covered by the Title IX ban on sex-based discrimination in schools. But the demise of that interpretation was signaled by Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 48 hours after he was confirmed. A Texas court prohibited the federal government from enforcing the Obama-era guidance, and Justice last week withdrew its request for a partial stay on that ruling. In other words, Sessions was fine with the enforcement ban and leaving it to the states — a position White House spokesman Sean Spicer made even more clear this week when he said President Trump “has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government.” For parents in many states, that’s cold comfort. “I want my child to know that he is loved and supported,” Amber Briggle, 38, of Denton, Texas, says over the phone. She is a small business owner who employs more than a dozen people. Her husband, Adam, is a college professor who bikes to work. They have two children, a dog and two cats. They seem like a typical all-American family. But now they are parents who have to worry about their transgender son because of politicians in Washington: a new attorney general who with one of his first acts wanted to make sure their 9-year-old used the girls’ bathroom. From infancy, the child expressed his identity as a boy. While Amber and Adam accommodated their child’s needs at home, he still had to use the bathroom. At school. By himself. “His grades started slipping,” Amber recounts. “He would hold it because he didn’t know where to go, and that made him anxious and irritable.” Once the bathroom situation got sorted out for him, his grades and performance bounced back up. Something that might seem trivial to most has a great impact on minorities who are not protected from discrimination under the law. The Justice Department action (along with the Deapartment of Education) is setting the tone for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights for this administration’s tenure. Around 1,000 parents have signed a letter to the president, coordinated by the Human Rights Campaign, condemning the administration’s move to undermine protections for transgender students. Around the country, you can see anti-LGBTQ policies left and right. A study from the Movement Advancement Project details: a law in Mississippi that permits businesses, doctors and government officials to deny services and care to LGBTQ people; bans of cities and counties in Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina from extending non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people in employment, housing and public accommodations; laws in Alabama and Louisiana restricting educators from discussing LGBTQ issues; and laws in Georgia and Tennessee that allow health care providers to refuse access to transition-related care for transgender people. The issue with Sessions — and a pressured Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos — is about public accommodation. It is our government saying, “We will not recognize you.” POLICING THE USA: A look at race, justice, media If our government is already giving protection to specific groups under the law, why not include nearly 700,000 who identify as transgender? Why continue with the marginalization? Amber and Adam wanted to make sure their son’s progress was not halted or regressed by a sudden stroke of Trump’s pen. “We wanted to be proactive,” Amber says. She and Adam did something they would normally wait for their son to bring to them first: name change. “We didn’t make it political,” she says. To their surprise, their son had already thought about this and was on board. The actions taken on Wednesday by Sessions and the DOJ realizes minorities’ fears of the Trump administration. While Amber and Adam are already taking steps to protect their child, it’s up to all of us to speak up about offenses against minorities and put pressure on our legislators (locally and nationally) to stand for basic human rights. Josh Rivera is the Your Say editor of USA TODAY. Follow him on Twitter @Josh1Rivera. You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @USATOpinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To submit a letter, comment or column, check our submission guidelines .

Source: Trump fears come true for LGBTQ: Column

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