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Gov. Malloy does right for transgender students

Despite all of the bickering and bashing of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy over his proposed biennial budget, it’s more than about time that we praised him for something his administration has done.

And that praise goes to an executive action that was announced by his office last week.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the administration of President Donald J. Trump withdrew federal protections for transgender students.

The protections were instituted through a directive back in May 2016 by the administration of then-President Barrack Obama.

In the directive, both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice directed schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The protections were given through an interpretation of federal law Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities by recipients of federal funds.

The directive states that sex discrimination also encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including transgender status.

Less than a year later, the Trump administration withdrew the directive and the protections.

One day after that, on Thursday, Feb. 23, Gov. Malloy signed Executive Order No. 56, which clarifies that “bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and institutions of higher education are places of public accommodation under existing state anti-discrimination laws.”

The executive order directs the state’s Department of Education to develop and present to the state Board of Education guidance on policies that will allow students to access facilities consistent with a student’s gender identity.

Protections like this are extremely important for both the well being and the protection of transgender students.

Obama’s original directive was a landmark in the protection of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer (LGTBQ+) community and civil rights based on sexuality.

While the Trump administration’s rollback of the directive is perplexing, it is great to see Malloy stand up for both the rights and the protection of transgender youth everywhere in the state.

Public education means education for all students no matter their race, color, religion, nationality or sexual orientation.

Students should feel welcome in the classroom and not ostracized for their sexuality.

While some may see this essentially as a battle between political parties, a Republican administration against Democrats, human rights should not be a political issue.  

It is good to see Connecticut take the lead on protections for transgender students, and hopefully other states will follow our state’s lead.