February 23, 2017
Issue: Stopping Discrimination
Former Justice Department Official Responds to Rollback of Transgender Students’ Rights
Johnathan Smith, a former official in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and current legal director of Muslim Advocates, released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s rollback to the rights of transgender students. The guidance, which was released during Smith’s tenure at the department, directed schools to treat students consistent with their gender identity, including in restroom and locker room usage:
“The Justice Department I knew was firmly committed to ensuring that all individuals can live free from unlawful discrimination, violence, and harassment. We are only one month into this administration and it seems that those days are already far behind us.
I applaud the career staff at the Civil Rights Division to their commitment to this work and urge them to stay strong under an administration that seems hell-bent on undermining their work.
To revoke the civil rights of these young people under the guise of states’ rights is disingenuous and will jeopardize the health and well-being of students and families all across the country.
This decision fits into the pattern of hateful and discriminatory actions that have defined the Trump Administration, which has stopped at nothing to make immigrants, religious minorities, and now LGBT children, less safe.”