You may have heard about the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ decision on February 12, 2018 to no longer investigate or take action on any complaints of discrimination against transgender students' use of restroom and locker facilities.
While this is yet another blow from an unsupportive administration, it’s important for everyone, especially those of you that are trans and gender nonconforming (GNC), to know that you still have rights in school.
Here are six things that you can do:
- Breathe. Know that we’re still with you. You still have rights as trans students, and we are here to make sure that they are enforced. Title IX has been around through many administrations and will continue to exist.
- Ask for your school to make visible their commitment to LGBQ and specifically trans and GNC students. They can put up a Safe Space Sticker or Poster, or a "Trans Students, You Are Loved" sign.
- Those of you that want to take action in allyship, check in with your trans and GNC friends, assure them that they still have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment. You can check out this Know Your Rights resource together.
- Find out about the policies your school has to protect LGBTQ students. Text TRANS to 21333 to find out about laws in your state.
- Work with your GSA to ask your school administration to ensure that you have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. Use GLSEN’s Trans Model Policy for guidance.
- Take action with educators, students, and community members across the country by asking your U.S. Senators to hold the current nominee for the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Ken Marcus, accountable to trans students. Ken Marcus has not made clear his stance on protecting trans students, and your Senators can impact his legacy.
Although it may seem scary, overwhelming, and frustrating to continually hear that this administration does not demand your protection, the law is the law, and you are still protected. Know that there are those that are still fighting for your rights. GLSEN is here to provide resources and support. Please let us know what you need as you are working on being your beautiful, valid selves and supporting other students around you.
Tate Benson is GLSEN's Youth Programs Associate.