When transgender students are thrown under the bus, who is next?

With a new administration behind America’s wheel, the LGBT community finds itself under attack once more

Finlay Kuester, Staff Writer

  Late last Wednesday, Trump removed federal Title IX guidelines, put into effect by former president Barack Obama, that allowed transgender students nationwide to use the bathroom that matched their gender. What this means is that this decision has been passed down to the state level, placing many transgender students in more conservative areas at risk of losing the ability to use the right bathroom. When students are not able to use the bathroom in their own schools, they are prevented from getting an education in peace, and are given a thinly veiled message that their presence is not accepted. In a stumbling administration that has repeatedly claimed their intention to protect LGBT students and citizens without backing it up, this is an unsurprising failure to uphold justice for those who need it most.

A tweet from earlier in Trump’s campaign

  There is plenty of data to show that denying bathrooms to transgender citizens is an actual issue in our nation. The 2015 US Transgender Survey found that nearly one in ten respondents were denied access to a bathroom in the past year, and 14% reported being harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted while accessing a restroom. Almost 60% of the survey’s respondents avoided using a public restroom out of fear of being harassed, and nearly one third limited the amount they ate and drank to avoid having to use public restrooms. Imagine for a second being too afraid to use the restroom in public, being so afraid that you take steps to avoid having to. When we create an environment that that is that hostile for transgender citizens and their needs, we tell them that they are not allowed to exist in public, simply because of the fact they experience gender differently than we think they should.

Data obtained by the US Transgender Survey

  Interestingly enough, the evening of Trump’s announcement, newly appointed secretary of education Betsy DeVos tweeted that she considers protecting LGBT students a “key priority” for “every school in America.” Where is this protection?

DeVos’s tweet the evening of the announcement

  This controversial move has stimulated fears among the LGBT community about Trump’s plans for them. Just 14% of the LGBT community voted for Trump. Even his infamous campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” raised fears, especially among older LGBT people; after all, it was only so many years ago that a republican president sat by and watched as gay men died by the thousands. Recently, rumours surfaced that Trump would rescind another of Obama’s executive orders, one that offered protection to LGBT federal employees. His vice president Pence has fallen under attack for his support of conversion therapy, a horrific practice linked to high suicide rates. Trump has also voiced his support for “religious freedom” bills, which has come to be code for administration that allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers based on religious grounds, as if some people are less worthy of ethical treatment because of one group’s archaic beliefs about gender and sexuality.

  During his campaign, Trump claimed he would be “the best” for women, shortly before tapes were leaked with him admitting to sexual assault. He claimed he was the “least racist person,” before issuing his massively controversial Muslim ban. Is it any surprise, then, that after all his talk of protecting LGBT citizens, he has lashed out against them? What will it take for transgender students to get their education while being treated with the respect that they are owed? And with this action occurring so early in Trump’s term, what political battles lie in store for one of America’s longest-suffering communities?