Despite being the group most vulnerable to harassment and assault, federal guidance on how to protect trans students has been revoked.
While trans students are still legally entitled to education free from discrimination under Title IX, Trump withdrew Obama’s “Dear Colleague Letter” that offered guidance to public institutions on how they could best make their schools safe for their trans students. Most importantly, this included allowing trans students to use the facilities that correspond to their gender identities.
Without such protections, schools are free to revert back to practices that jeopardized trans students’ safety and freedom.
The loss of LGBTQ rights is a loss to all of us. But just because the federal government doesn’t feel it’s necessary to tell schools how to protect their trans students doesn’t mean we can’t compel our schools to take measures into their own hands. From the Huffington Post:
- All universities have some written code of conduct rules that students sign at the beginning of every year. (It’s the document that gets you written up every time you sneak booze into your dorm room). Petition your school’s president to include language in your school’s nondiscrimination policy that protects “gender identity and expression.” Trans students on college campuses experience greater rates of sexual assault, harassment, and violence than any other campus group. Should they be targeted, including this language provides recourse for them to take steps within the institution to prevent it.
- Encourage your school officials to allow students to use their chosen names and pronouns on school materials like rosters, IDs, and email addresses—they’re not legal documents and there’s no reason why people’s identities shouldn’t be respected.
- Urge officials to adopt specific policies allowing for trans students to access campus facilities that reflect their gender identities.
- Request language that protects the privacy of students’ records so that your school doesn’t put its trans students at risk.
Not a student anymore? You’re still a constituent. So try writing to your town’s board of education and if you need ideas, give me a shout! I’ll send you my draft.