Last month, the Trump administration began their rollbacks of the Title IX protections the Obama administration implemented for transgender students.
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits schools that receive federal funding from discriminating against students based on sex. Last May, the Obama administration implemented specifications that under Title IX, federally-funded schools must also extend these protections to transgender students and guarantee them the right to use the bathroom corresponding with their identity.
The Trump administration has already begun the process of withdrawing these protections for transgender students. This is a direct act of discrimination and prejudice against the transgender community and we cannot stand idly by while it happens.
The reversal of Title IX perpetuates the marginalization of the transgender community and undermines their rights to safety, respect, and acceptance. By denying transgender students the right to use of the bathroom of their chosen identity, you are refusing to acknowledge their humanity and very existence.
Supposedly this is a "protective" measure to prevent cases of bathroom crimes and sexual harassment. This argument does not stand. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there has never been any reported incident of a transgender person attacking a cisgender person in a public bathroom. Moreover, a 2013 Williams Institute study reported that "roughly 70% of trans people have reported being denied entrance, assaulted or harassed while trying to use a restroom."
Transgender students are not the enemy -- they are the ones suffering and being failed by discriminatory legislation. We must establish and maintain protections for transgender Americans because no person should be told that their identity is "incorrect" or "invalid."
This is not about bathrooms, and it is not a matter of giving transgender, intersex, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people their own "special" bathroom to use ("separate but equal" ain't equal, people). It is about validating these already ostracized communities of people and acknowledging them as fully human. It is about ending the discrimination against those who don't fit the constructed ideals of what it means to be "man" or "woman."
Gender is a socially constructed system of organizing people into these two distinct groups of man and woman. The characteristics we identify with these groups have been constructed by us, by society -- which also means we have the power to deconstruct them. In order to protect our transgender citizens, we must work to eliminate the stigma they face because they somehow confuse this binary system so many people blindingly and ignorantly believe in.
Stand up for those whose voices are being silenced and help protect the human rights of transgender Americans. They are valid, they are worthy, and they are whole. It is our job to deconstruct this system of gender and oppression so we can reconstruct a society built on equality and tolerance for all.