In February, the Departments of Education and Justice reversed the Obama-era guidance issued to school districts on accommodating trans students. Soon after, the Supreme Court sent back to a lower court the case of Gavin Grimm, a trans teen who was denied access to the school bathroom that aligns with his gender identity.
Though Title IX is still federal law – it prohibits discrimination in education based on sex, which includes trans students – the protections afforded to trans students are in limbo. School communities are left in confusion about their obligations under Title IX. And trans students are left in fear.
In the weeks since the reversal of the guidance, school districts, other education bodies, and political leaders across the country have made public their commitment to protecting trans students, often citing existing state and local protections. This is what leadership looks like:
1. Superintendent Torlakson, California Department of Education
— CA Dept of Education (@CADeptEd) February 23, 2017
2. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
The White House's reckless actions last night undermine the promise of civil rights and equal protection for all in this country. (1/3)
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) February 23, 2017
DCPS is committed to supporting & protecting transgender students. Read Chancellor Wilson's letter to the community: https://t.co/ZhAp5nEZEz
— DC Public Schools (@dcpublicschools) February 23, 2017
4. Superintendent Carranza, Houston Independent School District
— Houston ISD (@HoustonISD) February 24, 2017
5. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) February 23, 2017
6. Des Moines Public Schools
Des Moines Public Schools will always welcome and support our diverse student body. This includes our transgender students. pic.twitter.com/Zvr3T4NXAD
— DM Public Schools (@DMschools) February 23, 2017
These are joined by many others that have committed to protecting trans students:
- Vt. Education Secretary Reaffirms State's Policy For Supporting Transgender Students
- Chicago educators say transgender policies won't change after Trump rollback
- New Paltz school district reaffirms rights of transgender students
- Ann Arbor Public Schools states support of LGBTQ community
- NYC Department of Education: Transgender and Nonconforming Student Guidelines
- Baltimore City Schools pressed to affirm rights of transgender students
- Saint Paul Public Schools Supports Transgender Students
But not all responses have been positive. Some school districts have taken the reversal of the guidance as license to discriminate. In Kansas, the Derby School District rolled back their trans-inclusive bathroom policy, putting young trans Kansans in greater danger.
As the courts hear Gavin’s case, we must take action to ensure trans students are protected. Here’s how you can help right now:
- Tell your governor to #ProtectTransYouth and direct your state’s Department of Education to issue and enforce trans-inclusive policies.
- If you witness or experience discrimination at school, #ClaimYourRights with the Office for Civil Rights. Secretary DeVos said she’ll “investigate all claims of discrimination,” and we need to hold her to her word.
- Educators, take these 9 steps to stay vocal in your support of trans students in the classroom.