On Wednesday, as predicted, the Trump administration rescinded Barack Obama’s order allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The decision will now be left up to the individual states.
The current administration claims that the Obama-era guidance didn’t provide “extensive legal analysis” of how the protection related to Title IX. Title IX is an order that prohibits sex discrimination in schools. Obama made the argument that transgender students should be protected under the ruling. In turn, Trump is saying they shouldn’t. This goes a lot deeper than where one can and can’t relieve themselves.
In a statement, president and CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, explains:
Transgender youth face extremely high rates of discrimination and bullying. By rescinding the Department of Education guidance recommending trans students be treated equally under Title IX, the administration is sending an alarming message that it will no longer defend their rights. While this action does not and cannot take away any rights trans students currently have, it undermines the progress we have made towards equality and acceptance.
Those high rates of discrimination and bullying Ellis mentions include 54 percent of transgender students from kindergarten to 12th grade who have reported being verbally harassed, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality. Out of that, 24 percent have experienced a physical attack, while 13 percent have reported being sexually assaulted. What's more, 17 percent experienced such harsh treatment, they left school as a result.
This rollback on transgender rights is essentially a rollback on human rights. By doing this, Trump is proving what those in objection of his presidency initially believed: he is a dangerous man with a hateful agenda. He is telling marginalized America, you are not safe under his rule and is working to disenfranchise the minority at every turn.
In the same vein that the Women’s March served as a wake-up call to show up for the reproductive rights for women, now’s the time to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community. You can start by reading up on Gavin Grimm, a young trans boy from Virginia who was told he couldn’t use the boys' bathroom at his school, whose case is being brought to the Supreme Court this spring. Also, read up on where the state you reside in stands on protecting transgender students’ rights and, if yours doesn’t have any in place (and a lot don’t), call your elected official and express your concern. Get out there and protest. Support organizations that support the LGBTQI+ community. Janet Mock lists a few here. There are some others here. And here.
It’s okay to be scared of what’s going to come next because these are scary times we’re living in, but fear doesn’t help the situation—action does.