By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Trump’s roll back of the Obama Administration’s transgender school bathroom policy is drawing fire from Gov. Mark Dayton and local transgender activists. President Obama had put in place federal protections allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on the gender they identify with.

President Trump lifted those guidelines which leaves transgender policies in the hands of individual states and school districts.

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An emotional Governor Mark Dayton denounced President Trump’s decision.

“This is not a state’s rights issue, it’s a human rights issue,” Dayton said. “As a person of the Christian faith, I am mystified that those who purport to be people of faith would demonize school children who simply want to go to the bathroom.”

The governor, as well as his Education Commissioner Brenda Casselius, urged individual school districts to stick with the Obama guidelines.

Minneapolis Public schools were quick to agree. Superintendant Ed Graff issued a statement saying “Our protections of transgender students and staff will remain the same today as they were yesterday.” St Paul Public Schools issued a similar statement.

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Rox Anderson is the owner of the Southside Cafe and Chair of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition.

“I think my reaction is I’m a little bit saddened by it, but definitely expected,” Anderson said.

Anderson is hopeful all Minnesota schools will continue to follow the Obama guidelines and says transgender advocates will be carefully monitoring schools and their policies.

“When trans folks are denied access to the bathroom, or denied access to the bathroom that makes them feel most safe, then it’s really hard to focus in and do the work that is expected of them,” Anderson said.

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Minnetonka schools say it’s not an issue for them because they have had gender neutral bathrooms for years. We reached out to a number of other major school districts as well as the Minnesota State High School League and have not heard back.

Esme Murphy