Activists, Educators, Celebrities & Politicians Respond To Trump’s Rescission Of Trans Bathroom Protections

February 24, 2017  |  
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By now you’ve probably heard of the most recent community to be targeted, discriminated against and disenfranchised by the Trump administration is transgender students. In reversing federal protections put in place by President Obama that allowed trans students to use the restroom that corresponded with their gender identity.

According to the New York Times, In a joint letter, civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected Obama’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow these students to use the bathroom of their choice. The letter said the protection was enacted “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Interestingly enough, Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education was against the policy and told Donald Trump that was uncomfortable with rescinding the protections because of the potential harm to transgender students. But with Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, they forged ahead. He could not move forward without her consent, so he went straight to President Trump, who sided with Sessions and told DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office that he wanted her to drop her opposition. Faced with the option of resigning or defying Mr. Trump, she agreed to go along with it.

And while DeVos was persuaded, there are quite a few people outside of his cabinet who are not too happy about the decision, considering the fact that it’s blatant discrimination and all. Activists, celebrities, educators, politicians and late-night talk show hosts all shared their opinion about the issue. See what they had to say on the following pages.



Laverne Cox

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This is me at 16 – just a year after I reintroduced myself as Janet. I was a high school student, a Destiny's Child STAN (hence the blonde weave!), an avid reader, writer and TV watcher. ​​ Despite the grin, I nearly did not make it past my sophomore year. School, which was once a place I considered a refuge, became incredibly difficult for me when I began transitioning as a freshman. I had issues with bathrooms and locker room access. I was sent home repeatedly due to “dress code violations.” I was repeatedly called out of my name and misgendered daily by classmates and staff. I would go home at night and seriously contemplate never returning. The struggle of waking up every day, getting dressed, walking to school and being met with stares and closed doors weighed heavily on me. I just read the news that the Trump administration decided to roll back protections for trans students, and it infuriates me because I know what it's like to be escorted to the restroom, to be told you do not belong, to have my body and gender policed and checked daily. I know first hand how vital it is for young people — for all of us actually — to be met with nods, applause, and open doors. It’s even more urgent for marginalized students, regardless of their ability, race, class, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation or gender expression and/or identities. I found that support at another school, and thrived, even leaving with a full academic scholarship to college. To young trans folk: Remember that this is your school too. You deserve to be there just as much as any other student. You deserve equal access, affirmation and an education, and you must recognize that you are powerful. You belong, and nothing — absolutely nothing — is wrong with you. #trans #girlslikeus #protecttranskids

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Janet Mock

She also wrote a piece for the New York Times about young people getting and understanding Trans rights and older people struggling with the issue.


Julian Castro

Castro is the former Mayor of San Antonio and served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama from 2014-2017.

Clint Smith

Educator and author.

Seth Myers



Stephen Colbert


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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