If Donald Trump becomes president, he will rescind the federal Department of Education's directive that transgender students may not be discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity as well as a rule issued on the same day that health care providers must provide transgender people with transition-affirmative health care.
The presumptive Republican nominee told The Washington Post Monday that believes the government should "protect all people," and he included the transgender community in that comment.
The Department of Education directive issued by the Obama administration Friday includes guidelines explaining the obligations that schools receiving public funding have to their transgender students.
These obligations include respecting the gender identity of transgender students by using the student's preferred name and pronouns, and ensuring them access to sports teams, educational opportunities, and sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity, according to a letter sent to public K-12 schools nationwide as well as to colleges and universities that receive federal funding.
The Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities rule assures that transgender Americans cannot be denied "health services related to gender transition" by health care providers that receive federal dollars.
The Post asked Trump if the backlash against the Obama administration's support of transgender people was being "overblown," and the Donald responded by saying, "I don't think so, because you've got to protect all people, even though it's a tiny percentage of 1 percent. I think from that standpoint, [states] should come up with a policy that's going to work for everybody and protect people."
Trump doesn't see transgender rights as a civil rights issue, as the Obama administration has called it. The federal government announced a civil rights complaint against the state of North Carolina May 9. "I don't view it as civil rights or not civil rights. I think it's something where we have to help people -- and hopefully the states will make the right decisions," he told the Post.
When Trump was asked if he knew any transgender people in his personal life, he said that he had not, or at least if he did, he was not aware of it: "Now, I may not know about it, but I do not think I have any exposure to it from the standpoint of knowing people."
The Republican presidential nominee told the paper that he finds transgender rights to be a "very interesting subject." "It's certainly an issue that's getting a lot of play and it's an issue that I'm studying very closely," he told the Post.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News Monday, President Obama defended his stance on supporting transgender people, saying, "I think that it is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they're protected and that their dignity is affirmed."