Silent no more
"After decades of being the silent T of LGBT, the transgender community finds itself at once a hot topic and a target," writes Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, in writing about Attorney General Loretta Lynch's words to transgender America, and today the White House made one of its boldest moves yet in sending schools guidance on transgender access to bathrooms (at 7,400+ shares). "The Obama-transgender civil rights agenda is accelerating with remarkable speed," notices NYT's Michael Barbaro. "Not to be overlooked: The new federal guidance on bathroom use by transgender students also impacts privacy, sports, other activities," USA Today's Gregory Korte, who later elaborates, "My back-of-envelope math: About 4% of population is LGBT. @GLSEN survey shows 5% of LGBT students are trans. That's 0.2%, or 1 in 500 ... So in any decent-sized high school, that's probably 1 or 2 transgender students at any given time -- enough to be of concern to principals." Here's the guidance broken down into even simpler terms.
It's enough to prompt Daily Beast's Samantha Allen to pontificate on how Obama became the trans-rights president. Allen writes this title wasn't earned overnight: "In fact, the Obama administration has been quietly moving transgender rights forward for years. ... Each of this week’s wins can be traced back to an earlier policy." It's not the only transgender-related change this week, either: ground has been gained in the military, where the Pentagon is finalizing a plan to allow transgender soldiers to serve openly. Meanwhile, a California Catholic school let a transgender teacher keep his job: ""We feel because of our values, the choice was this, but that didn't mean it was easy," Sister Laura Reicks tells media. Conversely, however, Kansas is tightening its grips on transgender birth certificates: state health department officials are now arguing that amending birth certificates conflicts with state law and need to be eliminated.
In response to teh White House's letter, however, some have embraced it but plenty also vowed to fight. Outrage abounds among conservatives, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who called Obama's directive letter “blackmail from the president of the United States.” RealClear Radio Hour's Bill Frezza demands, "When cops catch a Peeping Tom in the girls room and he claims a transgender defense, what's the standard for sincerity under Prog law?" On the other hand, freelance journalist Glenn Fleishman observes, "The backlash to reactionary attempts to paint transgender people as pedophiles reaffirms my faith in humanity the attacks caused to waver." UpWorthy's Parker Molloy speculates, "How weird would it be if transgender people using bathrooms was the catalyst for another civil war? With how GOP governors are talking..." We'll see how long it takes to find its way into Trump's talking points.