Feb. 23, 2017 – The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), which is made up of over 50 lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocacy groups across the country, denounces the Trump administration’s recent announcement to rescind protections put in place by the Obama administration for transgender students that had allowed them to use facilities, including bathrooms which correspond with their gender identity. This announcement sends a clear message that the Trump administration will not protect the rights of LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth, especially transgender youth, experience bullying and violence from their peers for their gender identity and expression and higher than average rates of homelessness as a result of family rejection. The actions of this administration only serve to increase these risks.
“Eradicating equal access guidance is tantamount to the violence of rejection and isolation. LGBTQ youth who felt supported and included in their schools were able to personally affirm their gender identity and/or sexual orientation; however, they are now faced with a crushing reality of being forced to endure federal discrimination, increased isolation, ridicule, and bullying,” said Aaron Eckhardt, Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) in Ohio. “Simply put LGBTQ youth, especially transgender youth, are being told by the Trump administration that they don’t deserve equal access and equal protection in school despite the fact they are legally required to be in attendance.”
We must understand this action as an attack of LGBTQ civil rights and one that will put all LGBTQ survivors at greater risk for violence, especially transgender students. Any claims that protections for transgender students are a threat to public safety and privacy must be resoundingly rejected. In May of 2016, NCAVP joined hundreds of organizations across the country to stand against HB2 in North Carolina. At that time more than 300 domestic and sexual violence organization signed onto a statement by the National Task Force to End Sexual Domestic Violence condemning these type of anti-trans initiatives, and noting that: “Those who are pushing these proposals have claimed that [they] are necessary for public safety and to prevent sexual violence against women and children. As rape crisis centers, shelters, and other service providers who work each and every day to meet the needs of all survivors and reduce sexual assault and domestic violence throughout society, we speak from experience and expertise when we state that these claims are false.” We do the same today to ensure the rights of transgender students remain a priority throughout our country.
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“In recent years so many people have become aware of the diverse needs of students so that all students have the opportunity to succeed academically,” said J Zirbel, at Rainbow Community Cares in North Carolina. “Addressing the needs of transgender students is an important part of that larger effort to promote the health and well-being of our communities and our country.”
It should be noted that regardless of the Trump administration’s most recent announcement, the law remains on transgender students’ side and school districts across the country are still legally obligated to comply with Title IX and protect transgender students.
“While the Trump administration has made it clear that they will not protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, particularly LGBTQ youth, we must make it equally clear that such actions will not be tolerated, ” Said Shelby Chestnut at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “NCAVP remains committed in solidarity against this and other attacks on our communities, from transgender students to undocumented survivors and Muslim refugees, our voice and outrage over this administration’s actions will not be silenced in the wake of this onslaught of hate.”
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.