Last Wednesday the Trump administration overturned Obama’s transgender student protection directive, which ordered schools to let transgender students use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms match their gender identities. Thirteen states sued the Obama administration soon after the directive was issued in May of last year, and then federal judge Reed O’Connor of Texas issued an injunction to block it. According to the New York Times, President Trump had decided to leave the injunction in place, but then changed his mind and overturned Obama’s directive altogether.
It’s been reported that the Trump administration sees trans-bathroom rights as a state issue, not a federal one, hence the decision. “Schools, communities and families can find—and in many cases have found—solutions that protect all students,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Many conservatives, including Students and Parents for Privacy member Vicki Wilson, applauded the president’s decision to protect girls from sharing bathrooms and locker rooms with young men who they say are “struggling with these issues” (even though, as I’ve mentioned before, trans people are not confused). DeVos says anti-bullying policies will still remain intact, but is that enough to protect trans youth? Studies suggest that anti-LGBTQ legislation does the exact opposite.
A study recently published in JAMA looked at the relationship between legalized same-sex marriage (prior to the 2015 Supreme Court decision) and suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth. “Same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7 percent reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities,” the study reports. “As countries around the world consider enabling or restricting same-sex marriage,” the researchers conclude, “we provide evidence that implementing same-sex marriage policies was associated with improved population health.” While the report only focuses on marriage equality and not transgender bathroom policies, this study suggests that government limitations of LGBTQ rights in general further stigmatize LGBTQ youth and could lead more LGBTQ youth to attempt suicide.