Gov. Mark Dayton forcefully spoke out against President Donald Trump’s order to rescind federal guidance allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
“I strongly disagree with the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the protections that his predecessor provided for transgender students in being able to use school bathrooms which match their gender identities,” Dayton said during a news conference Thursday.
Trump’s administration, in rescinding the federal guidance, said the issue should be left to be decided by states, a position Dayton blasted.
“This is not a quote states’ rights issue — it is a human rights issue, and it should be a constitutionally protected right,” Dayton said.
He urged Minnesota school districts to adhere to the previously rescinded guidance, but he said schools are still responsible to ensure the safety of transgender students.
“These are vulnerable people with very challenging life circumstances and they deserve our compassion and support, not our attacks and demonization,” Dayton said.
Trump’s decision to swiftly undo the federal directive brought front and center hot-button social issues that have sparked fierce debate over how schools and public facilities should accommodate transgender individuals.
Dayton’s administration provided the results of a 2016 Minnesota student survey that found that transgender students are less likely to feel safe at school. The survey found that more than half of all transgender students have attempted suicide in the past year, compared with fewer than one in 5 students that are heterosexual or cisgender, meaning students identify with the gender assigned to them at birth.
The survey is one of the longest running surveys of youth, conducted every 3 years since 1989. It is an anonymous statewide school-based survey.