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Religious Tolerance logo


Candidate Trump promoted
protection for transgender persons.
The Obama Administration agreed.
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Transgender sign
Inclusive washroom sign

Part 1

2016-APR/MAY

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Background information:

Transgender persons form a small minority of about 0.6% of the U.S. adult population. Most are "MTF" [Male To Female] transgender individuals who were identified as male at birth, but who -- later in life -- have identified their gender as female. A smaller number are "FTM" [Female To Male] transgender individuals who were identified as female at birth, but now identify as male. A minority now identify themselves as being of neither gender or of an intermediate gender or as both genders.

As is normal on matters related to human sexuality, beliefs about and policies toward transgender persons differ:

  • Religious and social conservatives often:
    • Cite "gender confusion" as the cause for this transition and recommend therapy and/or prayer as a cure. After the 2017-JAN issue of National Geographic featured gender matters around the world, many conservatives cited intentional manipulation by parents as a cause of gender transition.

    • Refer to transgender persons by the name and gender that they were assigned at birth.

    • Use the personal pronouns (he, she, her, and him) according to the transgender person's birth-assigned gender.

  • Religious and social liberals, secularists and transgender persons often:
    • Describe transgender individuals as having a body of one gender and the brain of the opposite gender. Researchers have confirmed that this belief is literally true. They have found internal structures in the brains of MTF individuals that are typical of human females, and structures in FTM individuals' brains that are typically found in human males.

    • Refer to transgender persons by their current name and gender identity.

    • Use the personal pronouns (he, she, her, him) according to the person's current gender identity.

Also, as is normal when dealing with topics related to human sexuality, there is much anger and debate, but little or no active dialogue to resolve the differences. Thus, this conflict will probably take decades or generations to resolve.

During mid-2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the lawsuit Obergefell v. Hodges. It ended an active 25 year conflict by legalized the marriages of same-sex couples across the country. Almost immediately, many religious and social conservatives individuals and groups in the U.S. at least partly stopped promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people and started to commit major resources to preserve discrimination against transgender persons.

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2016-APR: As presidential candidate, Donald Trump supported protections for transgender persons:

As candidate for the presidency, he attended a town-hall-style event, hosted by NBC’s 'Today' show at Rockefeller Center in New York City. At the time, he supported equal rights for transgender people. He responded to a question about North Carolina Bill 2 which was in the news at the time. It repealed city ordinances that protected the LGBT community. According Ashley Parker writing for the New York Times:

" Donald J. Trump said ... that transgender people should be allowed to use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable with — including [those] at Trump Tower in New York."

He was quoted as saying that when people go to the restroom, they should:

" ... use the bathroom they feel is appropriate. ... North Carolina did something -- it was very strong -- and they’re paying a big price. And there’s a lot of problems. And I heard -- one of the best answers I heard was from a commentator yesterday saying, leave it the way it is, right now. ... You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is."

He said that if Caitlyn Jenner -- a high-profile MTF transgender woman -- were to walk into Trump Tower and wanted to use a bathroom, he would be comfortable with her choosing any bathroom she wanted.

He also said:

"There’s a big move to create new bathrooms [only for transgender people]. First of all, I think that would be discriminatory in a certain way. It would be unbelievably expensive for businesses and for the country. Leave it the way it is."

Greg Mueller, a conservative strategist, later responded to Trump's position, saying:

"There’s a lot of Republicans that are very uncomfortable with this issue, to say the least, or think it’s ridiculous that we’re going down this path and some people believe putting our children at risk. For somebody who is trying to build a coalition of conservatives and evangelicals, and ... maybe some Democratic votes to get you into the White House, you are taking somewhat of a political risk in the position he took this morning." 5

Penny Young Nance, the president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, said Mr. Trump’s remarks illustrated:

"... why conservatives are right to question his judgment. His instincts are wrong on our core values. He has spent his life surrounded by Manhattan elites who have never shopped in a Target [store]. Of course he doesn’t get the outrage. I don’t know if this will ultimately hurt him but it should." 5

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2016-MAY: Obama administration and a non-profit group also reacted to North Carolina's House Bill 2:

The NC bill requires "... transgender people in public agencies to use the bathrooms consistent with their sex as noted at birth, rather than the bathrooms that fit their current gender identity," 1

  • 2016-MAY-09: Attorney General Loretta Lynch said to transgender individuals throughout the U.S.:
  • "Some of you have lived freely for decades.  Others of you are still wondering how you can possibly live the lives you were born to lead.  But no matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that:  we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.  Please know that history is on your side.  This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time.  It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together."   

  • 2016-MAY-13: Two U.S. federal departments -- Justice and Education -- released a joint statement to:

    "... help schools ensure the civil rights of transgender students." 2

    At this time, late in Obama's term as president, both departments adopted the "liberal" definition of gender identity; they refer to transgender persons by their current name and gender identity. Thus:

    "... both federal agencies treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s [current] sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX [of the Education Amendments of 1972]. ... Under Title IX, schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status. 2

Title IX:

"... protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

'No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance'." 3

  • 2016-MAY: The Trevor Project is a non-profit group that has as its main mission crisis intervention, and the reduction in the number of suicides by LGBTQ youth. In an undated posting on their web site, they commended the Obama Administration for their:

    "... guidance directing all public schools nationwide to allow transgender students to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities matching their gender identity. At a time when 50% of transgender youth have thought about suicide and 25% ... have made a suicide attempt, this guidance shows how Title IX, the anti-discrimination law in education, should protect transgender youth in school systems and ensure an environment free from harassment and discrimination.  As the only national accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization, The Trevor Project hears from transgender students who are constantly facing violence and harassment, fighting to justify their authentic selves to their parents, classmates, teachers, and the public at large. With this guidance, transgender students will now be able to use facilities that match their gender identities, protected from harassment, addressed by the pronouns with which they identify." 4

As comforting as these policies were to transgender students, the new protections were not to last.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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Essays related to transgender matters on this web site that you might find interesting:

  • During 1991 the opening salvo in the drive to legalize gay marriages occurred in Hawaii when three same-sex couples launched a lawsuit "Baehr v. Lewin" seeking marriage licenses from the state. They were unsuccessful.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriages across the United States on 2015-JUN-26. The only exception was American Samoa where most people are U.S. residents, not U.S. citizens. As a result, some High Court rulings do not apply there.

  • Why are some people transgender?

  • About the North Carolina Bill 2 to restrict city ordinances concerning the LGBT community.

  • Links to other essays on transgender matters are located in our Trangender menu.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Complaint Against the State of North Carolina to Stop Discrimination Against Transgender Individuals," U.S. Department of Justice, 2016-MAY-13, at: https://www.justice.gov/
  2. "U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Release Joint Guidance to Help Schools Ensure the Civil Rights of Transgender Students," U.S. Department of Justice, 2016-MAY-13, at: https://www.justice.gov/
  3. "Title IX and Sex Discrimination," U.S. Department of Education, 2015-APR, at: https://www2.ed.gov/
  4. "Obama Administration Issues Guidance Protecting Transgender Students Nationwide," The Trevor Project, undated, at: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
  5. Ashley Parker, "Donald Trump Says Transgender People Should Use the Bathroom They Want," The New York Times, 2016-APR-21, at: https://www.nytimes.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-MAR-04
Author:
B.A. Robinson
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