• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Trump Administration Rescinds Obama Era Guidelines On Transgender Students

Transgender Bathroom Sign

The Trump Administration has rescinded guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice under the Obama Administration regarding the rights of transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room corresponding to their gender identity rather than their biological gender:

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.

In a joint letter, the top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.

That directive, they said, was improperly and arbitrarily devised, “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

The question of how to address the “bathroom debate,” as it has become known, opened a rift inside the Trump administration, pitting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions, who had been expected to move quickly to roll back the civil rights expansions put in place under his Democratic predecessors, wanted to act decisively because of two pending court cases that could have upheld the protections and pushed the government into further litigation.

But Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off and told Mr. Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.

Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms. DeVos to relent. After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, the Republicans said, and told Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the alternative of resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along.

Ms. DeVos’s unease was evident in a strongly worded statement she released on Wednesday night, in which she said she considered it a “moral obligation” for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

She said she had directed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate all claims of such treatment “against those who are most vulnerable in our schools,” but also argued that bathroom access was not a federal matter.

Gay rights supporters made their displeasure clear. Outside the White House, several hundred people protested the decision, chanting, “No hate, no fear, trans students are welcome here.”

Individual schools will remain free to let transgender students use the bathrooms with which they are most comfortable. And the effect of the administration’s decision will not be immediate because a federal court had already issued a nationwide injunction barring enforcement of the Obama order.

The dispute highlighted the degree to which transgender rights issues, which Mr. Trump expressed sympathy for during the campaign, continue to split Republicans, even as many in the party argue that it is time to move away from social issues and focus more on bread-and-butter pocketbook concerns.

Within the administration, it also threatened to become another distraction for Mr. Trump after a tumultuous first month in office. And it showed how Mr. Trump, who has taken a more permissive stance on gay rights and same-sex marriage than many of his fellow Republicans, is bowing to pressure from the religious right and contradicting his own personal views.

Social conservatives, one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal constituencies, applauded him for honoring a pledge he had made to them during the campaign. They had argued that former President Barack Obama’s policy would allow potential sexual predators access to bathrooms and create an unsafe environment for children.

“The federal government has absolutely no right to strip parents and local schools of their rights to provide a safe learning environment for children,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

But supporters of transgender rights said the Trump administration was acting recklessly and cruelly. “The consequences of this decision will no doubt be heartbreaking,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “This isn’t a states’ rights issue; it’s a civil rights issue.”

Bathroom access emerged as a major and divisive issue last March when North Carolina passed a bill barring transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match the sex on their birth certificate. It was part of a broader bill eliminating anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people.

(…)

While Wednesday’s order significantly rolls back transgender protections, it does include language stating that schools must protect transgender students from bullying, a provision Ms. DeVos asked for, one person with direct knowledge of the process said.

“All schools must ensure that students, including L.G.B.T. students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment,” the letter said, echoing Ms. DeVos’s comments at her confirmation hearing but not expressly using the word transgender. Ms. DeVos, who has been quietly supportive of gay rights for years, was said to have voiced her concern about the high rates of suicide among transgender students. In one 2016 study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, for instance, 30 percent reported a history of at least one suicide attempt.

Mr. Trump appears to have been swayed by conservatives in his administration who reminded him that he had promised during the campaign to leave the question of bathroom use to the states.

But he had given conflicting signals on the issue, and on gay rights more broadly. He said last April, for instance, that he supported the right of transgender people to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” and added that Caitlyn Jenner, perhaps the most famous transgender person in the country, could use whichever bathroom at Trump Tower she wanted. He has also called the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage settled law. “And I’m fine with that,” he told CBS News after the November election.

Despite his personal views, Mr. Trump’s decisions in office have been consistently conservative on social issues. And he has shown considerable deference to the religious right, naming many religious conservatives to top cabinet posts and pledging to fight for religious freedom protections and restrictions on abortion.

In isn’t entirely surprising that these guidelines, first issued last May, were rescinded under a Republican Administration, of course. While Trump himself only rarely speaks about socially conservative issues and barely talked about issues such as abortion during the campaign, it’s been clear from the start that social conservatives would move to roll back a provision such as this which has proven to be hugely opposed by people on the right largely thanks to some rather ill-defined fears about transgender adults and children using bathrooms of the gender they identify with. Additionally, as I noted at the time the guidelines were issued, the legal basis for the orders issued by the Obama Administration is tenuous at best. Essentially, the Obama Administration took the position that the prohibitions against discrimination based on gender contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which were expanded to education in 1972, covered transgender people and their right to be treated in accordance with the gender they identify with. It was based on this argument that the Obama Education Department took the position that a Chicago-area school district violated Federal laws when it denied a transgender student access to the girls’ bathroom and showers on the ground that they were still biologically and physically male and that doing so would make other students feel uncomfortable and unsafe. In reality, the state of the law in this area isn’t nearly as clear-cut as the Obama Administration contended at the time the guidelines were issued. Indeed, several Courts have ruled in the past that current Federal laws such as Title IX may not apply to transgender students at all, which means that those laws would need to be changed by Congress. Others have argued that, at least as far as schools are concerned, this is an issue that, for now at least, should be left to the states until there is more of a national consensus, as happened with the issue of same-sex marriage. As for the timing of this order, it’s worth noting that several states had filed a lawsuit against the guidelines last year which initially led to an injunction against their enforcement and that case is now at a point where the Federal Government was forced to decide whether it was going to continue enforcing the Obama era guidelines or abandon them.

This decision could also have an impact on a case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Just under a year ago, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a transgender teen who whose born female can proceed with a lawsuit against their local school board over the issue of bathroom access in a ruling that largely accepted the legal arguments that the Department of Education made in the Chicago case. That case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Court accepted the case for review. It is currently scheduled for review on March 28th, which means that it will likely be argued before Judge Neil Gorsuch could realistically be confirmed to the Court by the Senate and that the parties in the case will face an eight Justice court and the prospect of a tie vote that would leave the Fourth Circuit’s ruling in place. Amy Howe at SCOTUSBlog discusses what impact rescinding the guidelines could have on the case:

In the “Dear Colleague” letter (a standard format used by the Department of Education to remind educational institutions of their responsibilities or inform them of new guidelines) provided this evening to the court by the government, the department criticized the earlier guidance for its failure to “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX,” a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Moreover, the department added, the federal government believes that there must be “due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Although the guidance has been revoked, both the school board and G.G.’s attorneys want the court to decide the case. They emphasize that – regardless of what the Department of Education’s guidance may have said or how much weight courts should accord it – the court also agreed to review whether the school board’s policy requiring students to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender that they were assigned at birth is consistent with Title IX and the 1975 regulation interpreting that law.

The justices have a variety of options from which to choose to deal with tonight’s developments. Among other things, they could send the case back to the 4th Circuit for it to weigh in more fully on the Title IX question in light of the government’s changed position, or they could forge ahead and rule on that question themselves. At the very least, we should know more about the justices’ inclinations when they hear oral argument in the case next month, if not before.

Another alternative could be that the Justices could decide at the last minute to defer oral argument in the case to early in the next term, by which time Judge Gorsuch will likely have been confirmed and fully caught up on the cases before the Court. Whatever happens, though, it’s likely that the outcome of the case will hinge on where Justice Anthony Kennedy falls on this issue. Looking at things strictly from the perspective of the rights of LGBT individuals, there’s reason to believe that Kennedy could end up siding with the Plaintiff in the case and the Court’s liberals, thus resulting in a 5-3 ruling that would likely adopt the Obama Administration’s position on the proper interpretation of the gender provisions of Title VII and Title IX as they apply to transgender rights. The evidence in favor of this speculation can be found in the fact that Kennedy has been at the center of each of the Supreme Court’s decisions that have advanced gay rights in the past. He wrote the majority opinion in Roemer v. Evansa 6-3 decision from 1996 in which the Court struck down a Colorado law that purported to bar local jurisdictions from extending civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. He also spoke for the majority in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which overturned a 1986 ruling and held that laws making consensual sexual relations a crime were unconstitutional. He was the decisive vote and the author of the majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, the case that struck down the most restrictive part of the Defense of Marriage Act and lit the spark of litigation that brought us to yesterday’s decision. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, he was the fifth vote in Obergefell v, Hodges, the 2015 case that struck down the remaining laws against same-sex marriage and held that gays and lesbians had the same right to get a marriage license as straight people. The major difference between those cases and this one, of course, is that those cases all involved constitutional arguments under the 14th Amendment while the current case involves an issue of statutory interpretation and the question of whether it is proper to interpret laws adopted in 1964 and 1972 to cover transgender individuals when it’s clear that such issues were not even considered by the drafters of the statutes in question at the time they were passed into law. Because of that, it’s possible that Kennedy could side with the Court’s conservatives on the ground that the statute simply doesn’t cover what the Plaintiff is seeking to accomplish. In that case, as I noted, we’d end up with a 4-4 tie that lets the lower court ruling stand.

Regardless of how the Court rules, though, it’s clear that this issue will continue to come up in the future and that we’ll see debates on this issue at the state level for some time to come. In the end, I believe we’ll see people’s attitudes change just as they changed with respect to same-sex marriage, although the evolution may be a bit slower in this case. So while advocates may consider this change a bit of a setback in the fight for equality, the ultimate goal seems to me to be fully attainable in the end.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    I hope that these idiots realize that after a few years of seeing hairy, testosterone-taking, bearded transsexuals in the women’s room and beardless, breasted transsexuals in the men’s room, no one is going to give a hoot about mixing of the sexes in the bathrooms and sexually differentiated bathrooms will disappear?

    In other words, they’re actually encouraging the shifts in society they supposedly want to not happen.

    Silly silly people….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  2. Rob Miles says:

    I disagree that decisions on whether or not a group of people will be treated equally should be left to the states, which essentially means it will be left to majority rule. I also don’t think that the Obama administration was wrong to declare that transgendered people are covered under Title IX (though I honestly don’t know enough about the arguments for and against to strongly defend it.) That said, I’m going to say now that the hand-wringing drama that is sure to come from (some of) the Left will be way over the top. They’re going to say “The Trump administration just said schools can openly discriminate against the LGBT community”, which plays right into the hands of people who say the Left are over-reactionary. The Left should voice their opposition, to be sure, but I wish they would do so without the extreme rhetoric that will be sure to accompany it. This is one of the few issues concerning the Trump administration where I think the phrase “reasonable people can disagree” really means something.

    Also, I’m (pleasantly) surprised to hear that Betsy DeVos opposed rolling back the sanctions because of her fears that it would open the door to harassment for the LGBT community. I still don’t think she’s qualified for her position, but at least she can show some human compassion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  3. SKI says:

    @Rob Miles:

    They’re going to say “The Trump administration just said schools can openly discriminate against the LGBT community”, which plays right into the hands of people who say the Left are over-reactionary. The Left should voice their opposition, to be sure, but I wish they would do so without the extreme rhetoric that will be sure to accompany it.

    With all due respect, this assertion can only come from someone whose is divorced from the reality of the pain and anguish of real people this impacts.

    It isn’t extreme rhetoric to the families I know with transgender children. 80% of Transgender children don’t feel safe in school. 41% attempt suicide. These are realities, not over-reactions or “extreme rhetoric”. Have some freaking empathy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  4. Jay L. Gischer says:

    You can’t write laws or executive orders that force people to be compassionate. It just isn’t possible. And that’s exactly what school children who are trans need.

    I think the open shower issue is a tough one, but it seems to me that there are alternatives to it. It seems pretty all-or-nothing. Isn’t there a way to work out alternate times, or private showers? I know my PE teacher had a private shower. I think where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    So, we need a strategy that keeps this stuff in front of people, so they can’t dismiss trans children as “weirdos” or “up to something”, but maybe gives them time to figure out what to do about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. Argon says:

    @Rob Miles:
    People being what they are, I don’t believe one can reasonably expect to “tone police” everyone. The hyperbolic comments or actions of a few will always be used to impute a movement as a whole.

    The time when such arguments have any weight is when the person making the hyperbolic response is also in a position to directly impact a situation. Thus when a politician goes off the rails over a position they can vote upon, I’m more inclined to worry, e.g. Santorum’s “man on dogs” speeches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Kylopod says:

    @Rob Miles:

    The Left should voice their opposition, to be sure, but I wish they would do so without the extreme rhetoric that will be sure to accompany it.

    If you’re so concerned about civility, here’s a word of advice: quit referring to “the Left” with a capital L, as if we’re a bunch of radical Marxists. The group you’re describing consists simply of ordinary, left-of-center Democrats, many of whom would happily vote for the conservative parties in virtually all other democracies in the world. There is no capital-L “Left” of any significance in this country, and there hasn’t been for a long time.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

  7. Tyrell says:

    @Jay L. Gischer: Showers and locker rooms in most schools are set up to accommodate classes of thirty or so students. The schools that I have been to around here do not have a private shower for the staff. Restrooms for the teachers are few. I guess one could be made, but that costs money and most schools are out selling candy just to buy books and other basic school supplies: they are already strapped for money and the people are not going to go for a tax increase to pay for a lot of restroom additions. These are public schools, not country clubs.
    A mixed use restroom could be made out of a closet or storage room. A more practical and cheaper solution would be to set up a portable type restroom somewhere (not a portajon). I have seen these that are very nice and spacious.
    This just seems like a solution in search of a problem. How many people are we talking about here ? I have heard of few problems situations with this.
    Signs in restrooms: “Fixtures maintained by Joseph Plushbottoms Company”
    “Plumbing fixtures installed by Floyd Johnwater and Sons Plumbing Co.”
    “Restrooms inspected by Fred Philpott”
    Read: “Life In the Stalls” by Seymore Butz,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  8. Rob says:

    @SKI: My apologies for incorrectly phrasing this: I didn’t intend to imply that the pain and suffering transgenders face over this issue are “extreme rhetoric.” I was referring to the rhetoric that will be used to describe this action. Already many are saying that the Trump administration is banning transgendered youths from using the bathroom. That’s the rhetoric I’m talking about. The roll-back should be objected to, and vigorously, for the very reasons you state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. Rob says:

    @Argon: I see your point, but I don’t think you can discount the voices of influential people, particularly in the entertainment industry, who often resort to hyperbole to react to every situation. But, yea, generally people like you and me aren’t going to change much of anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. Rob says:

    @Kylopod: Hm, as a member of the Lleft, I hadn’t considered using a capital L would say so much. I wrote “Left” to mean Liberals (or should that be “liberals”) in general, NOT Democrats. I’ll keep that in mind in the future, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. SenyorDave says:

    Maybe Trump will discuss this in a future press conference. If asked for an explanation, I’m sure he will give details on his huge Electoral College victory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  12. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Tyrell:

    A mixed use restroom could be made out of a closet …

    I thought this was all about coming out of the closet. 😉

    Bottom line, by signing this executive order, you have the government intentionally choosing to treat one group of people less than others.

    That goes right up against the equal protection clause.

    Once you acknowledge a group, and allow reasonable expectations for that group, taking it away will find a class that will have standing to sue for relief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  13. teve tory says:

    linky

    Donald J. TrumpVerified account
    ‏@realDonaldTrump

    Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  14. Tyrell says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I have seen what can be done with a closet-storage room conversion to a restroom at the mall and hospitals: clean, bright, well supplied, roomy, and private ! I always seek those out when I go somewhere. That way you don’t have to be sitting beside someone and then start worrying about running out of paper !
    Now, those restrooms at the interstate gas station – convenience stores: usually filthy ! Some of the fast food places are nice, but not always.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Rob:

    I wrote “Left” to mean Liberals (or should that be “liberals”) in general, NOT Democrats.

    Fair enough. It may sound like I am nitpicking, but I’m pretty attuned to the shibboleths of right-wing culture, and this is one of them. In my experience nowadays, generally the only people who refer to “the Left” in other than a historical context are right-wingers. It’s kind of a subtler version of “Democrat Party.” On occasion I’ve seen people innocently use the word “Democrat” as an adjective (as in “Democrat Congressman”), but most of the time it comes from people who get much of their info from talk radio, FOX, and sites like WND or FreeRepublic. Many of them aren’t even conscious of it. The phrase “the Left” is similar. People do not usually add capitals to a word that lacks them (as opposed to failing to use them for a word that needs them, as in “democratic party,” which is often simply a result of laziness). It is a nonstandard usage that is largely an attempt to marginalize liberals/progressives in this country by linking them to radicals, as if Paul Krugman were in the same category as Noam Chomsky–which is something many on the right like to pretend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  16. al-Alameda says:

    This was to be expected, we are an incredibly dumbed down country.

    These people, apparently would have, say, Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner use the restroom corresponding to birth gender, rather the gender of his transition to being a female. Never mind that Caitlyn now is female and as such dresses as a woman and has female organs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    What has the Mango Mussolini actually done since he was inaugurated?
    He has taken steps to make the rich, richer…and oppress anyone who isn’t white, male, and straight.
    As for this:

    thanks to some rather ill-defined fears

    Every single policy position, every single tweet, every single utterance by Trump specifically and Republicans in general are based on lies and mis-information. I’m not talking about opinions, but verifiably and objectively wrong. Whether it is immigration, or terrorism, healthcare, the environment, the economy, or social issues like this. They are living in an alternate universe where the facts do not matter, only the emotions of the base.
    We are staring into the abyss of a minimum of two years (before the mid-terms) of wrong-headed lawmaking based on complete myth.
    Dark days are upon the Republic, for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  18. the Q says:

    And over this issue, which affects tens (?), the Dems lost the Supreme Court for a generation?

    So, an 8 year old boy, up to no good, can claim he is “confused” and wants to go piiisss in the girls rest room and the teachers have no say in the matter? Yes, that is what is happening as the parents of an 8 year old sued the school district for not allowing little Johnny to pee in the girl’s room. The teacher denied him, hence a lawsuit.

    Are some of you really going to defend this? If this law applies to over 18 legal adults then fine, but to force feed this to every elementary school district in the country, then claim Title 9? Then threaten to withold Federal funds to those districts? This ain’t exactly Little Rock or Wallace blocking the doors at the Univ of Alabama.

    Overkill on this issue perhaps? How about paying attention to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania instead of this nonsense? Then when Hillary wins, put this through. Does the LBGTVQRSTUW have that much clout with the Dems and displaced factory workers don’t?

    But, when you are on a roll like the modern libs of losing over 1,100 legislative seats the past 8 years, why listen to any voice of moderate Dem reasoning?

    This silly issue could have stayed on the back burner till after the 2016 elections and not given the idiot wingnuts any more ammunition than they already had.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  19. the Q says:
  20. Jen says:

    Honestly, this just makes me sad. I know that transgendered kids are a small minority when viewing the total number of school-age population kids, but I believe deeply that they deserve dignity and respect. Allowing them to use the bathroom of their choice is such a small thing, really. I also believe strongly that exposing kids to those who are different–and by that I mean *anyone* who is atypical of the school’s general population, whether that means handicapped kids, transgendered kids, children of different faiths, etc.–means that those kids learn that the world is a big place full of lots of different people. Expanding their minds shouldn’t be seen as a threat, and yet it is. It’s depressing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  21. Tony W says:

    We liberals tend to favor centralized policies to assure human rights in socially/politically backward areas in which people cannot defend themselves for whatever reason.

    That ox is gored, however, when the fascists come into power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. Kylopod says:

    @the Q:

    And over this issue, which affects tens (?), the Dems lost the Supreme Court for a generation?

    Of course. Because the Dems raised this issue, 80,000 voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were so disgusted they decided to cast their vote for the man who said that “Caitlyn Jenner can use any bathroom she wants.” Brilliant analysis, there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  23. the Q says:

    Klyopad, let me guess, you’re one of the clueless modern Dems who just love to lose elections. Yes, to your point, what I am saying is that the LGBTQLMNOP folks have more clout in the current Dem party than do white laid off high school factory workers in the Midwest. Hence, we lost FOUR midwestern states that we carried with a black President you silly twit.

    I am so happy we have Transgendered bathrooms for 7 years olds but not so happy that the cost is a lunatic fascist narcissist in the white house.

    Bravo Klyopad, thanks, your country applauds your fine sense of perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  24. Slugger says:

    My brother-in-law is a child psychologist who works with abused children. He has not seen any abuse caused by 8 year old MtF people; it is not described in the literature. Abusers are typically adult white males living as ordinary guys on the surface. Sadly, they are frequently people in a position of trust such as relatives, teachers, and religion figures. Denny Hasert abused more kids than a thousand MtF or FtM people. If you are serious about protecting children from abuse keep them from Republican political leaders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. KM says:

    @the Q:

    Yes, to your point, what I am saying is that the LGBTQLMNOP folks have more clout in the current Dem party than do white laid off high school factory workers in the Midwest.

    Yeah? So? Why does that bother you? Could it be you somehow think those people are intrinsically better somehow and are pissed they’re not getting their due?

    We lost 4 states because people like you hated Hillary with a passion. They picked the dumpster fire that is Trump because they couldn’t set their personal dislike aside and desperately wanted to believe his lies. Well congrats, you got what you wanted: Hillary Clinton isn’t President. Be careful what you wish for. Since she will not be running again, he’s going to have a much harder time without the built-in BS you all seem to have. Given the level of anger we’ve been seeing, it’s not gonna be too hard to take those states back and more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:

    1) Not to dismiss the 1000 lost legislative seats, but to put it in some perspective that is about 13% of the total.

    2) Democrats have racked up popular vote margins in six of the last 10, and 4 of the last 5 presidential races.

    3) Even in this godawful election we increased our numbers in the Senate and the House.

    4) Polls show the country actually strongly supports transgender rights.

    5) On the political side do I wish we could have kicked both Muslim immigration and trans rights down the road a bit? Absolutely. But surprisingly (!) the world does not get its strategic instructions from me. Issues come up when they come up. It’s frustrating, but you play the hand you’re dealt, and the alternative was to sit idly by while Republicans used political muscle to deliberately target a vulnerable minority, and as irritating and untimely as it may be, Democrats defend minorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  27. KM says:

    Always be wary when politicians want to put your rights up to the vote of the mob – that vote may not go your way. It may be OK for you now since it’s not your rights on the block but eventually the day will come it’s your turn to get screwed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  28. Kylopod says:

    @the Q:

    Hence, we lost FOUR midwestern states that we carried with a black President you silly twit.

    The way you’re talking, you’d think it was 2004 again, when the Republican candidate proposed and heavily campaigned on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, at a time when the American public overwhelmingly took the GOP’s side on the issue.

    A lot has changed since then. Not only gay marriage but bathroom choice is supported by a majority of Americans. Furthermore, even the GOP nominee expressed some support (albeit inconsistently), and neither candidate talked much about the issue one way or another.

    There are plenty of reasons why Hillary lost. There’s no reason to think bathrooms had anything to do with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  29. Gustopher says:

    @the Q: It must be nice to be so sure of yourself, and so willing to sacrifice the rights of a small, despised minority for The Greater Good.

    The reality is that the majority of people oppose the bathroom bills, and the group that really cares was always going to vote Republican anyway.

    Secretary Clinton should have spent more time in her firewall states, but the fact that she didn’t, despite never polling above 50% nationally or in those states, shows that her campaign staff was incompetent and overconfident, rather than showing anything about a need to sacrifice the transgender kids.

    Also, LGBTQLMNOP is just the hallmark of an idiot. You’re a Bernie Bro, go look at Bernie’s positions on sexual minorities — you could learn a lot.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  30. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Issues come up when they come up.

    In this case it was a lit bag of dog poo left on our doorstep. This was a very cynical attempt to drum up controversy by conservatives. The only blessing is it’s not gone as expected on their side; business has taken up the cause as a simple matter of economics instead of moral quandaries. Your average voter just doesn’t care enough about this issue to switch parties but they care enough to join boycotts and pressure states to not be exclusionary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Issues come up when they come up.

    Not only that, homophobes like Q just can’t seem to comprehend that no Trans person asked for this debate to arise. The people who made bathrooms an issue were conservatives, and in a pretty coordinated fashion. They knew that a bathroom panic would torpedo any and all LGBT bills.

    This article sketches out exactly how the bathroom panic arose, and even provides extensive links documenting it:

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/explainer/article/The-transgender-bathroom-panic-it-started-in-7677028.php

    People like Q would like the Democrats and progressives to simply back down from any fight that may possibly be a hard fight. Conservatives use trans people as a bludgeon? We should abandon trans people. Conservatives falsely link #BLM to the new black panthers (an org with barely a dozen members), well let’s back off on supporting racial equality. Nope, ONLY fighting for white people is the way to go for these people. We’ll support your LGBTQ rights and racial equality as long as it doesn’t involve us believing in anything.

    Edit: I now see that KM has posted the same thing, more eloquently, and with brevity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  32. panda says:

    This whole “trans issues lost dems the election ” is such transparent bs.
    1. In the only state in which this was an issue HRC performed about as well as any Democrat would in close national election and the Democrat opposed to bathroom laws beat an incumbent .
    2 Devos ,no liberal, is going out of her way to signal her opposition to Trumps decision.

    There is no shred of evidence this issue is a negative for Dems

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. Anthony Robinson says:

    @grumpy realist: Anthony Robinson

    [1] Massive Trump mistakes;
    Wants to send all Chinese students back to China.
    Direct costs;..12 Billion$. USA can not afford this loss
    Indirect costs;,,, Housing, rental and services business.
    Small business closings in university towns.
    Education is a foolproof USA income generator. export product.

    [2] Trump USA economy damage.
    Wants to Export all unregistered folks back to their home country.
    This would devastate farm labour and the fruit growers.
    Unregistered folks spend their money in the USA economy. They do not hoard wealth in offshore accounts as the Trumps do.

    [3]…Your common sense should tell you that Trump’s intent to hire TEN THOUSAND border police is a terrible waste of our tax dollars. The USA economy can not afford all these money losing policies. This mistaken policy will destroy thousands of small business all across the USA.

    Trump is like a teenage boy who means well but without thinking ahead will destroy America before he learns the job. Remove him or at least surround him with wise governors who will not allow DESTRUCTiVE policies to go ahead.

    Anyone who goes bankrupt in the casino business with all the winning cards can not be trusted with running the USA. Anthony Robinson

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. the Q says:

    “So, Transgendered has more clout than white laid off factory workers Yeah? So? Why does that bother you?” It bothers me because it paved the way for a lunatic to take office.

    Thank you for proving my point about how out of touch the modern Dem is from reality.

    And this: “There is no shred of evidence this issue is a negative for Dems”…I guess you missed the election results from North Carolina which HRC lost. The NBA pulled the All Star game etc. over this ridiculous issue. And you don’t think that was a negative???????? It certainly didn’t help any in NC now did it?

    Also, while the public may narrowly be on the side of TG issues, not at the cost of the federal govt punitively punishing local school districts who refuse to go along.

    Tell me modern libs, what is the difference between Obama threatening to withold federal funds over this bathroom issue and the idiot POTUS threatenting to withold federal funds from sanctuary cities?

    Hint: there isn’t any, only to a hypocrite.

    And to Mr. Reynolds point, yes we did gain some seats, but we were expecting to retake the Senate and substantially close the gap in the House. We didn’t. And at the state level, we got killed. Only 5…5!!! states are Dem in Gov/legislatures. The GOP controls 37.

    Please let us wake the phuck up. Quit blaming those who didn’t like Hillary and start looking in the mirror. You rammed down our throats the most unpopular, negative Dem in modern history, then whined when she went down to a moron. Now, some of you pretend that is is the social crises of the century!!!! Please, its the lib equivalent of the wingnuts fighting over the legality of owning machine guns. A fringe issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  35. panda says:

    In 2012 Obama won nationally by four points and lost NC by 2 points. HRc won national vote by 2 points and lost NC by 3 points. ( Trump got slightly lesser share of vote than Romney). Cooper won in 2012 easily and lost in 2016 – over the transgender issue . Looking at these numbers and conclude that HRC lost the state due to transgender issues is textbook pundits fallacy.

    As for the rest of your comment : there is and connor he any equivalence between federal policy aiming to expand civil rights and federal policy aimed tonasssit ethnic cleansing .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. the Q says:

    “People like Q would like the Democrats and progressives to simply back down from any fight that may possibly be a hard fight.”

    This is a hard fight? Buddy, getting bludgeoned and hosed by Birmingham police was a hard fight. Getting maced at Berkeley or killed at Kent State over Vietnam was a hard fight. Getting a pick axe into your back from anti union thugs at River Rouge is a hard fight. TG bathrooms is a hard fight?

    Again, with insipidly ridiculous comments like this, no wonder we get waxed by no nothing dipschitz on the right.

    My God, can’t one of you admit that this issue is trivial? Stop conflating something which affects at most a few thousand with Jim Crow or Christopher Street or Kent State. Its embarrassing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  37. the Q says:

    Panda, sorry pal, there is no difference between Obama enforcing his EO and Trump doing the same.

    When the libs start acting like wingnuts, we are in a world of trouble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  38. Gustopher says:

    @the Q: The idiot, he doth blither.

    There was never a point where the Democrats had to choose between either supporting blue collar workers in the midwest, or supporting transgender kids. The failure to do the former does not mean the latter was a mistake.

    I’m sorry your preferred candidate was not able to win over a majority of the primary voters — more liberal than the general populace — and that we were unable to establish the Bernietopia. The feels, they bern.

    But, the simple fact is that Bernie Sanders, even with a wide open field, was not able to defeat the “most unpopular, negative Dem in history” among the most liberal segment of the voters. He kicked Martin O’Malley’s ass, but he came up short against the sheer unpopularity of the woman who was more popular than him.

    The Clinton campaign made the same mistake that every single Republican candidate made — she just waited for Trump to implode.

    Equally bad, she didn’t engage the voters. She’s likable enough when she gets out in front of people, lets go of the script and speaks from the heart. She’s unlikable when she lets her opponents paint her as a bizarre harpy who personally drank the blood of diplomats at Benghazi.

    I wanted Biden to get in — he is literally incapable of not speaking from the heart. But, he wasn’t able, and if he had been, he still might not have won the nomination because — and you might have noticed this when she was kicking Bernie’s ass — people like her. Not all people, but a lot of people.

    That said I don’t understand why anyone looked at the polling numbers and thought Clinton was inevitable or even necessarily ahead — she didn’t break 50% anywhere, and the undecideds were high. She played it safe, as if she really had a 99% chance of victory or whatever the NY Times was claiming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Anthony Robinson:

    [3]…Your common sense should tell you that Trump’s intent to hire TEN THOUSAND border police is a terrible waste of our tax dollars. The USA economy can not afford all these money losing policies. This mistaken policy will destroy thousands of small business all across the USA.

    My common sense tells me that this is a significant stimulus package aimed at the border regions, which will boost the local economies. Those TEN THOUSAND border police will have salaries, and be moderately paid — roughly at the level where nearly every dollar they earn will be spent, a good chunk at the small businesses in the area.

    It will add to the debt, and it will be kind of fun to watch the Republicans try to raise the debt ceiling when they have a crazy wing that won’t go along with it, and they have created a precedent for making it a negotiation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. iSeeDumbPeople says:

    @the Q: “So, an 8 year old boy, up to no good, can claim he is “confused” and wants to go piiisss in the girls rest room and the teachers have no say in the matter? Yes, that is what is happening…”

    No, fool, that’s not what’s happening anywhere. Schools keep detailed student records. Transitions have to be coordinated with staff. From the New York City school district policy:

    “Each school is required to maintain a permanent pupil record of each student, which includes the legal name of the student as well as the student’s biological gender. In addition, schools are required to use a student’s legal name and gender on standardized tests and reports to the State Education Department.
    To the extent that the school is not legally required to use a student’s legal name or gender on school records and other documents, the school should use the name and gender preferred by the student.
    A student’s permanent pupil record should be changed to reflect a change in legal name or gender only upon receipt of documentation that such legal name and/or gender have been changed pursuant to applicable law.
    In all cases, in order to ensure that records accurately reflect circumstances in effect at the time each record was made, that records can be cross-referenced, and in order to maintain the confidentiality of the student’s transgender status to the extent possible, the former name and/or gender will be maintained in archived data in the DOE’S central database.”

    You were duped to believe that little Johnny can just decide one day to prank the school staff.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  41. panda says:

    Panda, sorry pal, there is no difference between Obama enforcing his EO and Trump doing the same.

    Hey boss.
    Beyond the moral distinction between the 2 EOs, which you don’t care to adress, there is also a constitutional distinction: Obama’s EO is an interpretation of an existing and long-established federal law; Trump’s sanctuary city stuff is an attempt to use federal funding of any number of things to influence local policy-making on an unrelated issue. The former is something about which courts disagree often; the latter is clear-cut constitutional violation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  42. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @the Q: Exactly what do you – someone who has claimed repeatedly that the LGBT community is a fringe community who should be thrown under the bus at the first sign of pushback – what do you think happened on Christopher Street?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. Jen says:

    If common sense and empathy won’t change the administration’s views on this, maybe sports will. Via the Washington Post, a transgender boy who is required to compete on the girl’s wrestling team.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. CB says:

    @the Q:

    Hint: there isn’t any, only to a hypocrite.

    Only if you fail to make any kind of moral value judgements on the rationale behind their respective decision, you putz.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. CB says:

    @the Q:

    Hint: there isn’t any, only to a hypocrite.

    Only if you fail to make any kind of moral value judgement on the rationale behind their respective decision, you putz.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. charon says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Once you acknowledge a group, and allow reasonable expectations for that group, taking it away will find a class that will have standing to sue for relief.

    Trump and his people would view such suits as a feature, not a bug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0