You may have heard about the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ decision on February 12, 2018 to no longer investigate or take action on any complaints of discrimination against transgender students’ use of restroom and locker facilities. While this is yet another blow from an unsupportive administration, it’s important for everyone, especially for LGBTQ-supportive educators, to know that trans students still have rights in schools.
Your actions count! Here are 5 things educators can do to affirm trans youth:
- Make visible your commitment to LGBQ and trans and gender nonconforming students. Put up a Safe Space Sticker or Poster, or a “Trans Students, You Are Loved” sign.
- Check in with your students, especially your GSA or out LGBTQ students, to assure them that they still have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment. Help students to find out more at www.glsen.org/knowyourrights.
- Find out what policies your school has to protect LGBTQ students. Text TRANS to 21333 to find out about the laws in your state.
- Work with the administrative leaders in your school and district to ensure you have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. Use GLSEN’s Trans Model Policy for guidance.
- Take action with educators, students, and community members across the country by asking your U.S. Senators to hold the current nominee for the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Ken Marcus, accountable to trans students. Ken Marcus has not made clear his stance on protecting trans students, and your Senators can impact his legacy.
While the disappointment and frustration of an administration that continually turns its back on trans youth is palpable, at times like this, know that your students are looking to you for support and guidance. GLSEN is here to provide resources and support, but it is up to you to help your trans and gender nonconforming students know that they are welcomed and loved at school.
Becca Mui is GLSEN’s Education Manager.