A nationwide injunction that has kept transgender students from using school bathrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity will remain in place after the Trump administration decided not to challenge it in court. The move, announced Friday, ended an effort mounted by the Obama administration after the order was announced last year.
The injunction was issued in August by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas as part of a lawsuit filed by more than a dozen states over the Obama administration’s position that Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, protects transgender students.
Under that interpretation, transgender students have access to facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, a proposition to which social conservatives strongly object. They argue that allowing transgender students to use those facilities poses a threat to the privacy and safety of other students.
The Obama administration appealed the injunction and requested that it apply only to states involved in the lawsuit and not nationwide. Oral arguments in that case were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, but on Friday, the Justice Department withdrew the previous administration’s challenge.
“The parties are currently considering how best to proceed in this appeal,” the department said in a legal brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The decision changed little in the short term because the nationwide injunction has been in effect since August, but it signaled a significant change in the government’s approach to transgender issues under President Trump. Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the move a “callous attack” on “the dignity and safety of transgender students.”
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