Dayton blasts Trump’s transgender bathroom reversal

Published 1:36 pm Saturday, February 25, 2017

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton blasted President Donald Trump’s administration Thursday for reversing federal guidance that allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, urging Minnesota schools to continue operating under the previous directive.

Trump’s action Wednesday leaves the decision of whether transgender students should be allowed to use facilities that match their identified gender up to individual states and school districts. It’s unclear what immediate impact that reversal will have — former President Barack Obama’s guidance was put on hold pending legal challenges from 13 states.

Dayton said schools should nevertheless develop their own policies to allow transgender students to choose.

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“As a person of Christian faith, I am mystified that others … would demonize school children for simply wanting to go to the bathroom,” the Democratic governor said. “This is not a ‘state’s rights’ issue, it’s a human rights issue,” Dayton said. “It should be a constitutionally protected right.”

Dayton said he was powerless to make his own executive action to guarantee transgender bathroom access. And while the Legislature could pass its own directive, both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans, some of whom have introduced a bill that would restrict transgender bathroom use to birth gender.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka indicated Thursday he had little interest in pursuing any legislation whatsoever on transgender bathroom access, preferring to leave it up to individual school districts to set their own policies.