Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, and HRC Welcoming Schools, released a key resource for school officials to effectively and respectfully follow recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on the rights of transgender students.
The guide provides the backdrop for the May 13 federal guidance clarifying that transgender students have the right to be free from discrimination in schools, and answers questions school officials may be asked by parents, guardians and other community members.
Questions ranging from who is allowed in restrooms and lockers rooms, to why transgender students aren’t being required to use private facilities are answered clearly and succinctly. The U.S. Department of Education’s aims are explained in straight-forward language, and common misunderstandings about ensuring transgender students’ rights are debunked.
“Conversations about transgender students are new for many families, and parents and guardians may have questions about what the Department of Education’s guidance means for their school,” said Ellen Kahn, head of the HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth and Families Program. “This guide was created to help administrators and school board members respond to these questions, while also stressing how these kinds of policies, already in place at many schools, have helped transgender students enormously, and without any negative effect on their non-transgender schoolmates.”
The Department of Education released the guidance because schools and districts requested clarification on their obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination in education programs based on sex, and how they can safeguard transgender students’ rights to privacy and safety. This approach ensures that transgender students’ civil rights will be protected, including guaranteeing them access to facilities consistent with their gender identity.
The new HRC Foundation and HRC Welcoming Schools guide can be found here. For more information on creating respectful and supportive elementary schools, check out the HRC Welcoming Schools guide for Creating Safe and Welcoming Schools for All Children & Families.