President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday revoked landmark guidance issued to public schools in defense of transgender student rights, reversing course on a signature initiative of former Democratic President Barack Obama.
Obama instructed public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity, threatening to withhold federal funding if they should force transgender children to use bathrooms against their will.
The Trump administration action withdrew that guidance while the Justice and Education departments continue to study the legal issues involved.
Reversing the Obama guidelines stands to inflame passions in the latest conflict in America between believers in traditional values and social progressives, and is likely to prompt more of the street protests that followed Trump's Nov. 8 election.
A couple hundred people gathered in front of the White House to protest the Trump action, waving rainbow flags and chanting: "No hate, no fear, trans students are welcome here." The rainbow flag is the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York; Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley, Jeff Mason, Julia Edwards Ainsley and Emily Stephenson in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney)