JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – After a Trump-appointed federal judge temporarily halted enforcement on a Biden administration Title IX policy, local members of the Tri-Cities’ LGBTQ+ community spoke out about the potential impact of the decision.

Aislinn Bailey, the director of local trans group Tri-Cities Transgender, spoke with News Channel 11 about the decision, calling it “fear mongering.”

“Tri-Cities Transgender is joining other LGBTQ+ organizations in condemning the actions of a federal court in blocking protections for trans students and workers in the US,” Bailey said.

The ruling was part of an ongoing lawsuit between a group of 20 GOP state attorneys general and the Department of Education (DOE) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Guidance released by the federal agencies named in the lawsuit directed federally-funded schools and EEOC-regulated businesses to extend Title IX protections to transgender and gay employees/students.

Some of the protections offered by DOE guidance allowed trans-student-athletes to compete in leagues based on their identified gender, rather than their sex assigned at birth. With the enforcement blocked, schools are expected to bar transgender athletes from participation in order to receive continued state funding, based on new Tennessee laws.

“Trans women are disproportionately targeted as being predators simply for being themselves,” Bailey said. “This discrimination is not based on facts and reality, but on fear mongering and bigotry.”

The Knoxville-based courthouse released Judge Charles Atchley Jr.’s ruling on July 15, halting DOE enforcement until the lawsuit is resolved or another ruling is made. Bailey said that in the meantime, trans children may be negatively impacted by the ruling.

“The science is clear as are the real world consequences of ignoring the experts; treating trans people, especially children, with respect and giving them access to gender-affirming care results in much more favorable outcome,” Bailey said. “Conversely restricting such care brings about degraded mental health and in far too many instances death.”