Why LGBTQ Groups Wrote An Open Letter To The Trump Administration

As of last week, the Justice Department officially no longer objects to the injunction that blocked the Education Department's guidance that required schools to allow students to use the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity. Translation: Vulnerable trans kids may be forced to use the school bathrooms otherwise entirely populated by students of another gender. Alternate translation: Toto, I have a feeling we're not in the Obama administration anymore. Although last year President Obama sent public schools guidance explaining why and how federal laws protect trans students' rights, the Trump administration has wasted no time in pulling away from that guidance. Now, major LGBTQ organizations are asking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reconsider — via a public letter published today. The letter's signature line reads like a Who's Who of all the key groups that protect the rights of queer and trans individuals and all women: the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Women’s Law Center, GLSEN, and the Human Rights Campaign. In the letter, these organizations urge the Trump administration to preserve the crucial Title IX guidance that protects some of the country's most marginalized students — the very crucial Title IX guidance that Secretary DeVos herself has been wishy-washy about upholding. "These guidance documents," the open letter explains, "addressing important issues such as sexual violence prevention and response, bullying and harassment, and the needs and rights of transgender students, provide practical answers to schools on issues they face every day...Most importantly, these guidance documents have been instrumental in providing schools with the tools they need to protect the health, safety, and educational opportunities of millions of students." The letter also notes that nearly two thirds of trans students experience harassment at school. Legally relegating a 14-year-old trans girl, for example, to use a bathroom filled with teenage boys certainly does not seem like a move that is going to counteract that harassment. "We urge you to ensure that your Departments continue to support and protect all students," the letter concludes. Trans teens are part of the future of our country — and the world. Here's hoping the government gets its shit together and commits to protecting that future.

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