Nearly 800 parents of transgender children across the U.S. wrote a letter to President Trump on Tuesday asking him to preserve Obama-era protections for trans students.
The letter decried the Justice Department's decision not to challenge a judge's order temporarily banning Obama administration transgender protections issued through Department of Education guidance last May. The guidance stated that Title IX should be interpreted to include gender identity, and that transgender students should be allowed full access to restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity rather than gender assigned at birth.
"When this guidance was issued last year, it provided our families—and other families like our own across the country—with the knowledge and security that our government was determined to protect our children from bullying and discrimination," the letter stated. "Please do not take that away from us."
The parents described feeling "heartbroken and scared" after the Justice Department dropped its case against the ban, telling Trump, "You promised to be a president for all Americans."
The Justice Department, in a filing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, withdrew its challenge to the court ban just one day after Jeff Sessions was sworn in to head the agency as Attorney General.
The ban on Obama's transgender student guidance was issued by the court last August after 13 U.S. states, led by Texas, filed a lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor issued the temporary injunction, stating that Title IX "is not ambiguous" about sex being defined as "the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth."
A hearing in the case was set for this past Tuesday, but Friday's Justice Department filing asked that it be canceled.
The letter from parents was organized by national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and includes families from 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
“Just 48 hours after the confirmation of his anti-equality attorney general, Donald Trump's administration directly attacked LGBTQ equality and took aim at the rights of transgender youth,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a press release.
“This disgraceful action exposes transgender students to harassment and discrimination and emboldens bullies from classrooms to state legislatures," Griffin continued. "These 781 courageous parents are asking that the federal government protect their children at school, something that all families deserve."
Equal access to bathrooms for transgender students could still be affected nationwide by the case of Gavin Grimm, a Virginia high school student. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Grimm's case on March 28.