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Apple criticizes Trump’s reversal of transgender rights in public schools

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“We strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals.”

Tim Cook Stock 2015

Apple has criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back protections for transgender students in public schools, aligning itself with protestors and civil rights advocates who say the move will open the door for broader discrimination.

"Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination," Apple said in a statement to Axios late Wednesday. "We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections."

The guidelines, issued last year by the Obama administration, directed schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, citing federal nondiscrimination laws. The directive was issued after North Carolina passed a controversial bill requiring transgender students to use bathrooms that matched the gender on their birth certificates.

The Trump administration rejected that guidance on Wednesday, with the Departments of Justice and Education saying in a joint letter that the directive was issued “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Apple has spoken out on several political issues in the past. Last month, it joined several other tech companies in criticizing Trump’s immigration order, which halted the flow of refugees to the US and banned immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, and it was one of 97 companies that signed an amicus brief opposing the executive order. The company has also been a public proponent of LGBT rights. Apple opposed North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” in 2015, and in an op-ed for The Washington Post, CEO Tim Cook condemned so-called “religious freedom” laws that allow businesses to refuse service to homosexuals.