Former President Barack Obama required public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. However, according to the New York Times, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department and Education Department have handed this decision back to the individual states and school districts.
The Diamondback reports that Trump’s decision will not affect the rights of transgender students at University of Maryland. However, many members of the campus community still voiced their disapproval for the newest development in what many call “the transgender bathroom debate.”
Junior Ardy Djourabtchi noted that removing federal protections for transgender students humiliates those who may already have trouble fitting in.
“I think it’s just kind of helping that whole idea of making the LGBT community look like they’re freaks and that they shouldn’t be granted what they want like simple bathrooms,” he said. “I don’t like it at all. I think that they should have just kept Obama’s decision.”
Carol Boston, an employee of the College of Information Studies, called the Trump administration’s decision “retro-policy.”
“You don’t get to vote on other people’s civil rights,” she said.
According to the Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s Student Government Association passed several resolutions in December 2015 encouraging the university to implement more gender-inclusive bathrooms in its buildings. In the wake of the Trump administration’s decision, several members of the campus community have voiced their support for more of these bathrooms.
“I definitely believe that we should increase the amount of gender-inclusive bathrooms,” said Djourabtchi. “I think it should be something every single building has.”
Visiting student Katherine Claybaugh, a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, also spoke in support of more gender-inclusive restrooms.
“At my college I think it’s really great that we have them. I think they’re really important for keeping transgender students safe.”
Many students found gender-inclusive bathrooms around campus to be a solution to the debate regarding federal versus state protection of transgender student rights.
“I think the third bathroom is a great solution,” said sophomore Steven Grutman. “It allows cisgender men and women to feel comfortable while hopefully comforting students who are transgender.”