Trump and trans rights: What you need to know
Last week, the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender people, including the requirement that schools allow trans students to use bathrooms and participate in activities that align with their gender identity.
The Obama administration had enforced these standards under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in schools based on sex. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed that these protections were not a consistent interpretation of Title IX.
The administration fails to see the different needs of the trans community, or, worse, doesn’t care. It neglects the importance of identity and how such rollbacks can affect trans kids’ development.
Critics of Sessions have long argued that his positions are strongly anti-LGBT, citing examples like his refusal to acknowledge attacks based on sexual orientation, gender or disability as “hate crimes,” in addition to his support of the Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Here’s why this rollback of transgender rights matters:
Despite its being labeled as a very small group, current estimates say there are over 1.4 million trans adults in the United States.
As the graphic above shows, trans people also aren’t limited to super liberal or “hippie-dippie” areas. The trans population somewhat mirrors the general population; the four states with the most trans people are also the four most populous states.
In addition, while being transgender is often written off as “some new thing,” the data above shows that there are actually more trans people over 65 than under 24.
The point is that the trans community is a diverse group.
It’s also a group that faces numerous issues, from schooling to health care. While a transgender woman and a cisgender woman are both women, they have very different experiences with their womanhood.
This is what the Trump administration fails to acknowledge. The administration fails to see the different needs of the trans community, or, worse, doesn’t care. It neglects the importance of identity and how such rollbacks can affect trans kids’ development.
Legal protections for trans kids are so important because the transgender community is at a much greater risk for discrimination and abuse than the general population, especially for trans women of color. While 4.6 percent of the general population has attempted suicide, a striking 41 percent of trans or gender nonconforming people have attempted suicide.
Statistically speaking, odds are that if you’re reading this you’re not transgender or gender-nonconforming. You might not even know any trans people personally. But an attack on any group’s rights puts others at risk.
By rolling back trans kids’ rights, the Trump administration fails to protect America’s most vulnerable children. The discrimination, harassment and assault faced by trans people often begins at a young age. Without legal protection, they will be susceptible to more harm.
Adolescent years are hard enough, but it’s so much harder those struggling with gender identity and acceptance. What this rollback reveals is an administration that values some children’s experiences at the expense of others, and that’s what’s truly frightening.
Originally published at gw.therival.news by Emily Milakovic on 3.5.17.
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