Transgender students have lost the US government protection that allowed them to use school toilets and locker rooms matching their gender identities as Donald Trump’s administration stepped into a long-simmering national debate.
The administration came down on the side of states’ rights, lifting the Barack Obama-era national guidelines characterised by Republicans as an example of overreach.
Without the Obama directive, it will be up to states and school districts to interpret anti-discrimination law and determine whether students should have access to restrooms in accordance with their expressed gender identity and not just their biological sex.
“This is an issue best solved at the state and local level,” education secretary Betsy DeVos said.
“Schools, communities and families can find, and in many cases have found, solutions that protect all students.”
In a letter to the nation’s schools, the justice and education departments said the earlier guidance “has given rise to significant litigation regarding school restrooms and locker rooms”.