Long before the inauguration, many politicians, activists, writers, and others voiced major concerns about the Trump administration's attitudes towards LGBTQ rights in general — and the rights of transgender people in particular. And now, a month into the administration, the first volley to this effect has been fired: numerous news organizations have reported that the administration is drafting up an order that would revoke rights for transgender students in public schools. This order is much more than a rollback of the previous administration's policy — it's an attack on one of the most vulnerable groups out there: transgender youth.
Under the Obama administration, guidance documents given to schools across the nation declared that transgender youth should be allowed to use the bathroom that aligned with their identity; as per these documents, making students use a bathroom that didn't fit their gender identity violated a federal law about gender discrimination. However, it appears that the Trump White House will revoke that guidance; according to the Washington Post, the administration is now drafting a letter noting that it has "decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further consider the legal issues involved."
The issue at the core of this is interpretation of federal law, specifically Title IX, which prohibits any kind of gender discrimination — and whether the Obama guidance violates the rights of states to make their own rules about LGBTQ kids in schools. Chase Strangio of the ACLU explained in a Facebook post that "rescinding the guidance does not change the rights of students under Title IX. Trans students are protected from discrimination by federal law and the administration can't change that."
But it also raises a further question: what rights do young transgender people actually have in America? The answer, unfortunately, seems differ depending on what state transgender teens find themselves residing in. One of the greatest assets for understanding transgender rights across America is the LGBT MAP project, which maintains a complex system of records about every state's particular legal protections (or lack thereof) of LGBTQ people, regarding everything from general housing discrimination laws to hate crime statutes. If you dig around on the site, you'll find that the rights situation in each state is generally much more complex than "transgender people are protected here" or "transgender people are not protected here;" some states have specific protections enshrined in law, but some areas also have "negative" laws, which actually prevent transgender people from accessing or having certain services or protections.
No matter where you live, you should know your rights — and the rights of the people around you.