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Delaware advocates alarmed by report Trump admin may roll back more transgender rights

James Dawson
Delaware Public Media

Concerns that a Trump administration proposal could essentially define transgender out of existence may not prompt new protections in the First State.

State education officials say there are no plans to move forward on formerly considered protections for transgender students. The spokeswoman for the Delaware Department for Education declined to clarify if that meant just the version abandoned in August or any version, except to say she couldn't speculate going forward.

That’s despite a New York Times report saying the federal government may narrow the definition of sex to male or female and make it unchangeable from what’s assigned at birth.

Mark Purpura of Equality Delaware said that could negatively affect transgender students here. He said a recent court decision spells out how discrimination damages transgender kids.

“The Third Circuit spent a third of the opinion detailing how harmful discrimination against transgender students is both socially and medically and you know including psychologically for these kids,” he said.

Purpura describes the Trump administration proposal as an attempt to erase transgender people. He said that makes it more urgent for states like Delaware take action.

“So I think that, you know, in terms of how alarming it is I think it makes it even more important to look at how states are protecting transgender kids in school,” he said.

Gov. John Carney ordered state officials create an anti-discrimination policy that protected transgender students in 2017 that included stakeholders like Purpura. But the state dropped it in August after facing backlash and potential legal challenges - with Carney saying it would examine its next steps for the regulation.

When asked Monday, a spokesman declined to answer what next steps meant. The governor's office also declined to clarify whether it planned to move forward with any policy to protect transgender students or whether Carney remains committed to creating a policy protecting transgender students.

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