On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Trump Administration announced it is reversing education guidelines that protect transgender students from discrimination, harassment and violence in the country’s public school system. These guidelines were established during the Obama Administration and have been critical in ensuring that transgender students have access to a safe and affirming public education. Oregon has released similar guidelines, which will continue to protect transgender students in Oregon’s public schools from bullying.
Every student should have a fair chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future. Transgender students already face high levels of bullying and harassment from their peers. Sadly, more than 40 percent of transgender people will attempt suicide because of lack of societal acceptance.
This is a mean-spirited reversal and it means that transgender students will once again face greater hostility at school and in the world. It also sends a message that something is wrong with them, which is harmful and wrong.
These education guidelines simply ensure that all students, including those who are transgender, can learn and succeed in school without fear of bullying, harassment or isolation. There’s nothing in this guidance that challenges gender-specific restrooms. All it does is provide guidance about how to include transgender students equally.
In our work with school districts across Oregon, we know this guidance matters. The Dallas Oregon School district is a good example. A transgender student came out publicly and the school board heard from parents throughout the district who didn’t understand gender identity and encouraged the board to create a hostile environment for that student. District staff and board relied on state and federal guidelines to help educate parents and ensure that all students in Dallas could access a safe and affirming education.
It is the job of our schools to make sure every student feels valued and respected, and that includes transgender students.
Basic Rights Oregon is deeply disappointed that the Trump administration is standing on the side of ignorance over education.
Sign this petition to send a message to the Trump administration that we stand with transgender youth.