This policy move, which runs directly counter to the directive of Congress under Title IX, harms a vulnerable group of American school children who already face stigma and fear. It does not come as a surprise that Jeff Sessions, who has a long history of discrimination, was the leading force behind this cruel change in policy. Obama's former Ed Secretary Arne Duncan and Catherine Lhamon, former assistant secretary of education for civil rights, have a well-written piece in the WaPo asking where will pro-discrimination policies in education stop.
Update (2/25/17): I learned today (thanks, Laura!) of an anti-LGBT group called the American College of Pediatricians that is promoting outdated and discriminatory views on transgender youth and supports the Administration's directive. To be clear, this is not the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), of which I am a fellow, and which takes the opposite view. The president of the AAP, Fernando Stein, issued the following statement on 2/23/17:
"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes guidance issued last night by the Departments of Justice and Education that eliminates protections for transgender youth in public schools, no longer allowing them to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
"Transgender children are already at increased risk for violence, bullying, harassment and suicide. They may be more prone to depression and engaging in self-harm. These children need acceptance and affirmation, not stigmatization. As a result of last night's action by the Departments of Justice and Education, the simple act of using the restroom may subject transgender students to further harm. Policies excluding transgender youth from facilities consistent with their gender identity have detrimental effects on their physical and mental health, safety and well-being. No child deserves to feel this way, especially within the walls of their own school.
"The federal guidance withdrawing and rescinding protections for transgender students sends a message of exclusion and intolerance, which transgender students encounter enough of already in their day- to-day lives. The AAP voices our strong opposition to the decision by the Departments of Justice and Education and renews our support for the legal protections offered through Title IX.
"Transgender children should be supported, nurtured and cared for, whether in their homes, in their schools or through policies enacted at the state and federal levels."