As expected, the Trump administration on Wednesday (22 February) rescinded protective guidance for transgender students in US schools.
Transgender students face disproportionately high rates of bullying, harassment and discrimination at school the guidance helps provide non-discrimination protections for them in the US education system.
LGBTI groups are furious.
‘We all know that Donald Trump is a bully, but his attack on transgender children today is a new low,’ said Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign asked: ‘What could possibly motivate a blind and cruel attack on young children like this? ‘These transgender students simply want to go to school in the morning without fear of discrimination or harassment. The consequences of this decision will no doubt be heartbreaking.
‘Children deserve protection from bullying no matter what state they live in. Period. The policies included in the rescinded guidance have existed in cities, states, and school districts – from Minneapolis to Fort Worth – for years, seamlessly and successfully affirming and welcoming transgender students in thousands of classrooms throughout the country.’
The release of detailed guidance by the Departments of Education and Justice came last May as the federal government sued the state of North Carolina for its law forcing trans students to use bathrooms matching the gender on their birth certificate.
The lawsuit and the new guidance pointed out that a school risks losing federal funding if it treats a trans student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.
The guidance provides clarity on the right of students to not be discriminated against, or bullied because of their gender identity.
It also covers the right to be addressed by the names and pronouns that correspond to their identity and using the bathroom matching their gender identity, among others.
In the US, there are approximately 150,000 transgender youth (age 13-17) and 206,000 young adults (18 to 24), according to the Williams Institute.
The 2015 US Transgender Survey (USTS) – the largest survey of transgender people to date – found that 77 percent of respondents who were “out” or perceived as transgender in grades K-12 had negative experiences at school from being transgender, such as being verbally harassed or physically assaulted.
‘Every transgender student should know that, no matter what Donald Trump does or says, there are millions of people who will fight to stand up for them. We are proud to be among them,’ Griffin said.