With her pinched nose and large, probing raccoon eyes, Betsy DeVos is looking more and more like a Dr. Seuss character every day. And considering her Education Department just announced it will ignore complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms matching their gender identity, let’s just go ahead and say that character is Jane Kangaroo, the neurotic, sharp-cheeked, fascistic villain of Horton Hears a Who!, who does everything within her power to ban curiosity and control intellectual thought. Just think about it.
Well, that’s the most fun we’re going to have with this news, because it … is … terrible. We already knew the Trump administration was coming for the trans community from the start, but this is a whole new level of evil. Just as trans individuals are starting to feel more comfortable coming out at a younger age, a rich, powerful cis lady is bullying them into silence and submission. It’s an abuse of power and a horrific new manifestation of the fear this administration has embraced.
The worst part is that the Education Department isn’t even owning their own hate. They’re hiding behind a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX, claiming it inherently doesn’t protect the rights of trans people since it only “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.” Well, obviously a 1972 law doesn’t explicitly protect trans people: It was passed in fucking 1972, when most people didn’t even realize trans was a thing yet. If this administration even pretended to care about its citizens — or should we say subjects — it would reinterpret the original meaning of the law, just as governments have been doing since the beginning of government.
However, the highest courts in the United States have in fact argued in favor of trans students citing Title IX. Federal appeals courts for the 6th and 7th Circuit have suspended school restroom policies, deciding that trans students would likely win out using Title IX claims.
Thus, according to Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Department’s decision to neglect trans students is actually ignoring the law “in favor of their ideology.” Essentially, 45’s administration is just admitting that they don’t need to enforce the rulings of our highest courts because they don’t feel like it. Cool, thanks guys.