Obama And TransgenderedFollowing the Obama Administration’s groundbreaking letter to primary and some secondary schools clarifying who is protected under Title IX, courts and federal agencies have concluded that discrimination or harassment because a person is transgender or gender non-conforming constitute sex discrimination.
To help students understand and assert their rights in schools, the National Center for Transgender Equality is releasing Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students: Your Rights at School, a new resource that outlines the laws protecting trans people in school and steps for bringing harassment and discrimination complaints to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
In the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, participants who expressed a transgender identity or gender nonconformity while in grades K-12 faced alarming obstacles:
Seventy-eight percent reported harassment
Thirty-five percent reported physical assault
Twelve percent reported sexual violence
Fifteen percent reported leaving school
Fifty-one percent of participants who were harassed/bullied in school reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population
These shocking numbers show how important it is that all members of a school community work together to fight against discrimination. Anyone, including friends, family, and school staff, can file a complaint. Complaints do not need to be filed by the person(s) experiencing the bullying, harassment or discrimination.