President Obama Speaks Out About Bathroom Access For Transgender Students


Live video on Facebook has come a long way since the bizarre days in which people tuned in to watch a watermelon explode. Though it’s only been a month and a half, PBS streaming President Obama’s town hall in Elkhart, Indiana seems like a real exploration of the serious side of what Facebook live can offer.

The stream had a lot of great moments, notably Obama speaking on the presumptive Republican nominee, making solid points about education, and getting real about civility in politics.

But we want to focus on his response to a question that’s somewhat strangely become a hot-button issue among conservative thinkers. Namely: What to do if a trans person would like to use a bathroom?

“I’m not the one who’s making a big issue of it,” President Obama says. “But if the school districts around the country asked me, ‘What do you think we should do?’ What we’re gonna do is tell them, let’s find a way to accommodate them in a way that makes sure these kids are not excluded and ostracized.”

First, let’s say that we’re going to miss President Obama and his always-reasonable approach to the issues. He’s mastered the art of saying things in a way that makes them impossible to disagree with.

Second, it’s worth noting that laws regulating local schools are not really the province of the federal government. While they can certainly throw their weight around by doing things like cutting funding for highways or education aid, the onus is largely on the school districts themselves to approach the feds for guidance. Certainly, it’s heartening to know that President Obama has his head and heart in the right place. We’d like to see him take a bit of a stronger stand, but he’s always been a moderate at heart.

Not only that, but he’s definitely helping to position the Democrats as the voice of reason in the upcoming election against a presumptive Republican candidate who can seem...a bit unhinged. But this is vintage President Obama, saying the right thing without sticking his neck too far out.

Now if only he could stop some of the hateful, discriminatory laws popping up at the state level, we’d be all set.

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