The National Network of Abortion Funds denounces Wednesday night’s rollback of federal guidance interpreting Title IX in support of transgender and gender variant students in schools.
While the law has not actually changed, this unnecessary gesture from the Trump administration is blatantly discriminatory and meant to make it harder for transgender students to be safe and affirmed at school. Lambda Legal said in their statement on Thursday, “We all know that Donald Trump is a bully, but this attack on transgender children is a new low. Today’s move could endanger the well-being and safety of children across the country.”
This should not be a partisan issue. The decay of protections in schools threatens our ability to be who we are, to safely grow our families, pursue our health, and live our authentic lives. We vow to protect transgender and gender variant youth — we will continue to fight until we see that they are guaranteed the right to all basic protections and human rights, including access to safe schools and quality medical care, such as abortion and gender affirming health care.
Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, explains:
“Though the law itself is the same, revoking the guidance is equivalent to rescinding some protections since the guidance was meant to protect and affirm. What this looks like on the ground in many school districts is different than what lawyers and policy makers think it looks like just because the law says something. In my past work with school districts, I observed that many school districts did not interpret Title IX the way the Obama administration and many supportive state courts did. While the law has not actually changed and transgender students still have rights, revoking this guidance is still intentionally hateful, discriminatory, and meant to harm them. The government has no place in enabling harassment of any kind. We will not wait idly by as this administration punishes our identities and the identities of those we love and have committed to support.”
We are deeply concerned at the impact this revocation of guidelines will have on transgender students. Data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey shows a correlation between the suicide rates of transgender teens and bathroom restrictions in schools, and researchers went as far as to eliminate any bullying that occurs outside of the restrictions themselves. According to the survey, 40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime. This rate is nine times higher than the national average of 4.6%.
Students across the country should not be afraid or intimidated out of entering a place which holds the primary purpose of enabling young people to learn and grow. Title IX is still intact and we must be vigilant in letting youth know their rights. The ability of all youth to thrive depends on all of us doing everything we can to work towards more just and affirming environments.
Over the past several months, it has become clear that the louder we cry for liberation, the more brutally the new administration will try to dominate us. We will not let the current administration intimidate us into ceding any ground regarding our deeply held belief that every person no matter their race, religion, income, immigration status or gender identity, deserves to live the fear free life they envision for themselves and their families. Together, we will not be stopped.