On Friday, Log Cabin Republicans, the most prominent advocacy group of gay Republicans, took a stand against the Trump administration's recent move to reverse Obama-era protections for transgender students. In a public letter specifically addressed to the heads of the Department of Education and the Justice Department, Log Cabin Republicans asked for transgender student protections to effectively be re-implemented, or rather "reconsider rescinding." It also stated that the Log Cabin Republicans would provide their own recommendations for solutions.
The Log Cabin Republicans' response to the Trump administration order on transgender rights cites "deep concerns about [their] decision to rescind" the rights. In turn, the letter, signed by five members of the organization and co-signed by its president, aims to focus "on effective, common-sense conservative solutions designed to provide safety and respect to transgender students."
The letter specifically outlines three jumping off points including:
1) Acknowledgement of the legitimate concerns of transgender children and their parents.
2) Sustaining the positive elements of the previous Obama Administration guidance while refining those parts that have become flash points for controversy.
3) Recognizing the need for both federal rules and supervision as well as flexible local implementation.
Last week, the Trump administration rolled back the protections for transgender students that had been established in May. That was when the Obama administration issued a directive entitled “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students,” invoking Title IX to allow K-12 students in public schools to choose the bathroom that matched their gender identity, not their biological sex. Signed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration's original order because it did not take into account “due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”
However, Devos was initially opposed to revoking the transgender student protections, according to the New York Times:
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.
DeVos wasn't the only conservative apparently concerned about the move. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican congresswoman from Florida with a transgender son, said in a statement, "This lamentable decision can lead to hostile treatment of transgender students and studies have shown that bullying and harassment can be detrimental to the emotional and physical well-being of teenagers."
With Log Cabin Republicans weighing in, the GOP criticism of the Trump administration's approach to LGBT rights has grown stronger — and maybe, just maybe, the White House will listen.