Trump Revoked Federal Protections for Transgender Students and Here’s What We Can Do About it

A Brief History Lesson

In May 2016, the Obama administration issued an order that expanded on Title IX, a federal law that prohibits schools from discriminating against students because of their sex. Previously, it was unclear whether or not Title IX included gender identity and expression. However, the Obama administration provided further explanation of the law to address this important issue and make public schools safer for transgender students. The Obama administration’s notice states: “This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity” in instances such as restrooms, locker rooms, athletics, single-sex classes and schools and housing accommodations.

What’s Happening Now

The Trump administration is rescinding these protective statements. The current release claims that the term ‘sex’ is too ambiguous, as a federal district court in Texas recently ruled that ‘sex’ refers to biological sex. Because of the term’s conflicting definitions, the Trump administration believes that each state and local school district should determine its own policies. In contradiction, the Trump administration’s notice concluded with assuring that: ”This withdrawal of these guidance documents does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment.” However, this report offered no plan of action or alternative solution for enforcing such protection.

Courtesy: ABC News

 

What You Can Do as a Florida State University Student

Florida State University has made great strides in promoting equality for transgender students. The university’s Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy assures that all students, regardless of their gender identity, are protected against harassment. Additionally, the campus currently has 21 all-gender restrooms. These restrooms are single-stall and can be used by students of any gender.

Courtesy: Vexels

 

While such actions have helped to make our campus a more inclusive environment, the fight end to discrimination must go beyond marked facilities and listed policies. It starts with the students. Since the federal law is currently failing to protect all transgender students of America, the responsibility to make our university a safe space lies with us.

Respect everyone’s gender identity. Understand that everyone’s self expression is valid. Ask for someone’s preferred pronouns if you are unsure. Support the addition of all-gender public bathrooms for those who do not feel comfortable using either the men or women restrooms. Clarify for transgender students who want to use men or women restrooms that they are safe to do so. Use inclusive language in classrooms and at club meetings as not to assume anything about your peers. Educate yourself on transgender issues so that you can better support your fellow students. Voice your opinions on social media, such as posting #ProtectTransKids. Contact your government officials to let them know that you do not support the Trump administration’s statement and want to make public schools safe again.

By changing our actions to be more inclusive, we can change the culture.

About The Author

Shelby Curran is a senior at Florida State University majoring in English with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media and minoring in Communications.