The American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO; the Association of Title IX Administrators; and the National Association of Secondary School Principals have signed the open letter, joining the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Counseling Association; the American School Counselor Association; the Child Welfare League of America; the National Association of School Psychologists; the National Association of Social Workers; and the National Education Association. The letter expresses grave concerns about and objections to the flurry of bills attacking one of our nation’s most vulnerable youth populations.
“In cities and states across our country, transgender youth are being targeted and attacked by lawmakers who were elected to serve and protect,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Rather than legislating hate and discrimination, elected officials should listen to this broad chorus of nonpartisan experts speaking out against dangerous bills that only exacerbate the violence, bullying and harassment the most vulnerable of our society already experience on a daily basis.”
The 11 groups represent nearly five million members across the country.
Since state legislatures began meeting this year, more than thirty bills have been introduced seeking to deny transgender students access to appropriate restrooms and locker rooms, and preventing them from playing on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity. This type of needless and mean-spirited legislation would put school districts directly at odds with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, which have asserted for years that, under Title IX, school districts cannot discriminate against students based on their gender identity, including in access to sex-segregated facilities and activities. That position was confirmed by the guidance released recently from both departments in response to questions from educators seeking more information about best practices from around the country. This type of needless and mean-spirited legislation places school districts at risk of losing federal funding and opens up school districts to lawsuits and other liability for infringing on these students’ federally protected civil rights.
A survey by the HRC Foundation found that three-quarters of transgender students feel unsafe in school settings. This startling number will only rise if discriminatory bills continue to target these young people.
Photo By SatyrTN (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons