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Trump Admin Attacks Trans Students, Rejects Education Leaders’ Views

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Ash Orr (they/he)

Yesterday, the Department of Justice took the first steps to undermine critical federal guidance that provides schools with practical advice on everyday questions affecting the hundreds of thousands of transgender students in the United States. The guidance presents best practices from schools across the country and advises schools on complying with case law under the federal Title IX law.

In response to this, Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said:

This is a callous attack on hundreds of thousands of students who simply want to be their true selves and be treated with dignity while they work to get an education, just like every other student. Transgender students thrive when treated equally, but too often, they are not.

By refusing to fulfill their responsibilities to protect all the nation's students and defend this life-saving guidance, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration have attacked the dignity and safety of transgender students. In only his second day as Attorney General and one week after President Trump claimed his administration would be ‘respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights,’ Attorney General Sessions has sided with the extremist Texas Attorney General and taken steps to indicate that the Department of Justice will not be defending the federal government’s guidance. While the immediate impact of this initial legal maneuver is limited, it is a frightening sign that the Trump administration is ready to discard its obligation to protect all students.

The Trump administration’s action—yet another in an already long line of attacks on civil rights—is sure to empower bullies. But it does not change the fact that federal law protects transgender students. It will not change the fact that the nation’s education leaders and more and more schools in every part of the country are supporting them. Transgender students are not going away, and it remains the legal and moral duty of schools to support all students.

NCTE continues to defend protections for transgender students and has launched its School Action Center, a resource for transgender students and their parents.

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