How to be an Ally for Trans Students
On February 22nd President Trump’s administration withdrew protection guidelines for transgender students that allow them to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity in public schools. The rescinding of these guidelines, formally put in place by the Obama administration, endangers trans children and teens and raises questions about the White House’s policies toward the LGBTQ community. By revoking federal protection under Title XI for trans students, the Trump administration is leaving policies about bathroom rights up to state governments. Some states that have pending bathroom bill legislation that would limit the rights of trans students include: Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Texas and Alabama.
In Connecticut, there remains legal protection for transgender students. As stated in the Connecticut Safe School Coalition Guidelines for Connecticut Schools to Comply with Gender Identity And Expression Non-Discrimination Laws, Part Two: Students and Schools, “Students should have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity asserted at school.” Read the full guidelines here.
Governor Malloy has also indicated his support of trans students, read more on his support here. However, just because CT has guidelines for protection for trans students does not mean we can’t be an ally in other ways.
Protest and Advocate
If you think that trans children and teenagers are not being treated fairly or protected by law in your town or city, advocate beginning at the local level. Two ways to get started are with the school board and the local board of supervisors or city council.
True Colors is an incredible non-profit organization that works with social service agencies, schools, organizations, and within communities to meet the needs of sexual and gender minority youth. Follow their work and learn about their upcoming conference here.
Stand up against discrimination and myths
One of the most important steps you can take to be a transgender ally is calling out and correcting discriminatory rhetoric. As you fight for transgender equality, hearing some pushback is common. Here is an example of a common claim and a response from bustle.com:
"But I don't want men in the women's restroom."
“Great, neither do I! Transgender women are women, and want to use the bathroom like other ladies for purposes like peeing and checking their makeup. It sounds like what you're actually concerned about are sexual predators — and the myth that allowing transgender women to use women's bathroom allows sexual predators greater access to those spaces has been thoroughly debunked.”
It is imperative we protect and defend our trans community members from any damaging legislation or hateful rhetoric. By advocating, engaging in community events, and standing up to discrimination, we can help make a safer world for everyone.
By Liz Siranosian, Leadership Corps - Trinity College at 13 Mar 2017, 11:32 AM
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