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President Trump begins revoking the rights of transgender students

2017-02-23
A little over a month into his presidency, Donald Trump has made his overt first attack on the rights of LGBT people. The White House is set to revoke landmark guidelines introduced by President Obama advising public schools to let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice. Obama issued the instruction last May, threatening to withhold funding for schools that did not comply. A Texas federal district court judge issued an injunction against the guidelines later that summer, but the Obama administration lodged an appeal against the decision. However, on Friday, February 9, the US Department of Justice, now under Trump's instruction, withdrew that appeal. The move comes despite a statement from the White House in January attempting to reassure the LGBT+ community in the United States that their rights would be protected under a Trump presidency. "President Donald J Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community," the White House said at the time. "President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election." Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told The Huffington Post that Trump's removal of trans rights should galvanise the LGBT+ community. "This is a mean-spirited attack on hundreds of thousands of students who simply want to be their true selves and be treated with dignity while attending school," she said. "These young people already face huge hurdles in their pursuit of education and acceptance. The Trump administration effectively sanctions the bullying and ostracising of these children, putting their lives in danger." She added: "We saw this coming, and it’s not a surprise. But the Trump  administration is a mess. They take on the people they perceive to be the weakest first. I don’t think they understand how strong we are."

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Following Trump's ban on Syrian refugees and those from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, many say his refusal to back transgender rights should serve as another warning for marginalised communities. More stories: What will a Trump presidency mean for LGBT people? 'During the next four years the LGBT community must fight like it's Stonewall'