President Donald Trump rescinded bathroom protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students. With his decision, Trump has managed to lose the already doubtful trust of the LGBTQIA community.
This action was signed off and approved by secretary of education Betsy DeVos, the very person who should have the best interest of all students at heart—transgender included.
Trump and DeVos have been known to flip-flop on the issue. Both parties were originally on board with bathroom protections for transgender individuals. The sudden change of heart is a detrimental blow to the transgender population.
The original bathroom protection plan was an Obama-era federal guidance that allowed students to go to the bathroom with the gender they identify with. This action was a step in the right direction toward protecting transgender youth in school. Now that these protections are taken away, transgender students are forced to feel ostracized and marginalized when using the restroom and locker rooms.
Some argue these protections increase the potential danger that women will be sexually assaulted by men who pose as transgender women in the bathroom. However, these arguments have no factual basis and just promote prejudice against the transgender population.
“Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people’s access to facilities consistent with the gender they live every day. In some cases, these protections have been in place for decades. These laws have protected people from discrimination without creating harm. None of those jurisdictions have seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination law,” said a collection of the nations leading women’s violence organizations in a statement about transgender rights.
However, there have been many cases of adverse school environments and absurdly high suicide rates for transgender youth.
A study from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found most transgender students attend school in a hostile environment. 90 percent of transgender students have heard derogatory remarks, such as “dyke” or “faggot” sometimes, often or frequently in school.
Another study conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found 41 percent of the transgender population attempts suicide. These numbers are unacceptable and the issues need to be addressed.
The fight for bathroom protection is so much more than bathrooms. It is for the right of transgender people to exist in our society. It is about the recognition and validation of transgender and gender nonconforming people.
All transgender people—and especially transgender students—deserve protection. The federal government should be doing more to protect them. Let them exist and let them have some sort of assurance of safety when going to school. Transgender youth deserve to feel safe, especially when doing something as personal as going to the restroom.
-John Lee is a marketing sophomore