“The Trump administration on Wednesday formally withdrew Obama administration guidance enabling transgender individuals to use sex-segregated facilities, including bathrooms, of their choice.”
-The Washington Post
If you haven’t heard the news, you can read it here- Trump Administration Rescinds Obama Rules on Transgender Bathroom Use .
This news is upsetting and disheartening. But there are a few important things you should know- National Center for Transgender Equality has created FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students.
I’ve shared an important excerpt from the FAQ sheet below.
What happens now that the Title IX guidance is rolled back?
First, it’s important to remember that—with or without the guidance—transgender students are protected under Title IX. The guidance itself didn’t change the law or create protections for transgender students that weren’t there before. It just clarified how the Department of Education would be enforcing existing laws. Even though the guidance has been withdrawn, that doesn’t change the fact that under Title IX, transgender students have a right to be treated according to their gender identity, including when it comes to restroom access. And in addition to protections under Title IX, transgender students are also protected by the U.S. Constitution and, in many states, by state laws and policies protecting them in schools.
– National Center for Transgender Equality- FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students.
This matters. For transgender students who attend a supportive school, this probably won’t change their school experience. For those who have been fighting to have their basic rights met, this could be a damaging blow to their battle. For all transgender children and their parents the message that Trump’s administration is sending is powerful and harmful.
It might not be telling schools to discriminate against transgender students but it is attempting to strip those students of their rights, which actually are still protected. Unfortunately there are school districts who were just waiting for this message as a green light. This message tells transgender students that they do not matter and that they do not have the same rights as anyone else, nor do they deserve them. I want you to just think for a moment what that might feel like as a child who already might feel like they don’t quite fit.
A message from the president of their country. Yesterday I was having a discussion with my 2nd grade reading group about the power of an emperor, and in their 7 year old minds they likened it to the president.
And this is what matters most. Transgender students will hear this message and even if they have support at school, some will still be very frightened and not safe.
We are talking about kids who might be facing daily battles just getting through a school day. Even students who can navigate their school day might be feeling unsafe out in the world. If the negative message that the Trump administration is sending gets into a child’s head and they feel that threatened, the outcome could be dire. We are talking about a fragile, defenseless population here.
Parents of transgender kids are afraid for their children. Fear and worry are a standard part of the “parenting trans kids” package. We worry about their emotional well being, physical safety, bullies both in school and out, possible future health issues due to any treatment they receive, that they have friends, if they will find love, what their future will be, what they aren’t telling us (and there is always something they aren’t telling us), their happiness, their life…….
We worry and we fight. Some fight LOUD and OUT and PROUD. Some are quieter but just as persistent and effective. And some are floundering, just keeping their heads above water, grateful for the parents before them who are trailblazers, sometimes battling with a sword in one hand and holding onto their child, or a few fragile families or both all at the same time.
There are parents of minor transgender children who fear being reported for child abuse by “well meaning” family, friends or neighbors. And yes, it does happen! Divorced parents worry about losing custody of their trans child to an unsupportive parent, which could be detrimental to that child. They are afraid to advocate out of fear of retribution.
And those front line folks- they stand being attacked by hurtful or ignorant (or both) people. The very public advocates risk hate mail/messages and death threats. For fighting for what is right. I wish I was exaggerating but sadly, I’m not.
We are talking about human rights. This is what matters! It’s important that people show their support. I’m inviting you to join me in spreading a message of love and support to transgender people and their families everywhere. Make sure your schools are trans-inclusive. Educate the ignorant. Keep informed. Understand what Title IX is and how it protects transgender students. Do any of these….or all of them!
Feel free to use the picture below- it is mine to share. If you are a # person, please consider using #StandWithGavin as well as the ones below. If you are unfamiliar with Gavin, he is a transgender student whose case will be heard by the Supreme Court next month when he fights for the right to use the school bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.