Attorney General Jeff Sessions targets transgender students
Newly-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning to undermine the protections set for transgender students, warned the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The HRC, one of the largest civil organizations fighting for LGBTQ equality, issued this warning after the Trump administration decided to withdraw a request to halt an order against the Obama administration’s protections for the said students.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ first act
The group said the actions of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Sessions would effectively continue to halt protections of said students nationwide.
“After being on the job for less than 48 hours, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled his intent to undermine the equal dignity of transgender students,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
Griffin added that transgender students are entitled to “the full protection of the United States Constitution and our federal nondiscrimination laws.”
He further said the agency is working to subvert the civil rights laws for political interests instead of enforcing.
“President Trump must immediately reverse course and direct the DOJ to uphold guidance protecting transgender students,” Griffin declared.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions vs Title IX
Currently, the US has no laws protecting the LGBTQ communities from discrimination. This means LGBTQ people can suffer from discrimination with regard to housing, employment, schooling, and other areas of civil rights.
However, there are LGBTQ protections gained from presidential executive orders, departmental rules and regulations, and departmental guidance. Most of these were gained from the Obama administration.
The particular protection being targeted by Sessions is with regard to the guidance by the Department of Education and the DOJ extending Title IX protections to transgender students.
The Title IX guidance is important as it is being used against anti-transgender bills or so-called “bathroom bills”” that aim to discriminate as well as promote violence via anti-transgender rhetoric.
During Sessions’ confirmation hearing at the Senate, he had said that “a guidance document cannot amount to an amendment of a law”” and added that these may “erode respect for the law and the whole constitutional structure.”
Groups speak out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions
A number of civil rights and LGBTQ groups had decried Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General. GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Executive Director Janson Wu said Sessions’ confirmation was “a sad day for justice in our country.”
Meanwhile, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said: “The Senate has made a grave mistake in confirming Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.”
Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, was even harsher, declaring Sessions’ confirmation was “a travesty.”
Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, criticized the senators who confirmed Sessions, saying: “By voting to confirm Sen. Sessions as Attorney General, these 52 senators are endorsing his extensive and extreme record of anti-LGBT, racist, xenophobic, and anti-civil rights statements and actions.”