President Donald Trump's decision to reverse protections that allow transgender students to use whichever restroom corresponds with their gender identity was met Thursday with defiance by New York City officials.
“We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.
"Safe and equal bathroom access is essential for everyone, and in New York City, it’s the law and has been since 2002," added Carmelyn Malalis, chairperson of the city's Commission on Human Rights.
Trump's decision sparked an "emergency rally" Thursday evening at the Stonewall Inn, the historic "birthplace of the modern Gay Rights movement."
Less than a year after transgender students were granted protections that allow them to use whichever restroom corresponds with their gender identity, Trump on Wednesday reversed the legislation.
In May 2016, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice gave the joint guidance to school districts and colleges that receive federal funding. The move was based on then-President Barack Obama adding gender identity to federal law Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in schools.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that Trump believes such decisions about transgender students should be made at the state level.
"All you have to do is look at what the president's view has been for a long time, that this is not something that the federal government should be involved in, that this is a states' rights issue," he said.
“Schools, communities and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said.
Spicer added that the DOJ and DOE will issue “further guidance” on the matter at an unspecified time.
Regardless of Trump’s order to overturn the students’ protections or whatever happens at the state level, New York education officials have vowed not to change the guidelines it put in place in 2014.
We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values. https://t.co/Ckr1yA5P0P— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 22, 2017
Last year, we ensured access to restrooms that align with a person's gender identity. That's not changing. https://t.co/vJHyyD6XvG— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 22, 2017
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina echoed the mayor’s sentiment.
Transgender Student Guidelines help schools ensure a safe learning environment free of discrimination & harassment: https://t.co/wDjjIqLQ4g— NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) February 23, 2017