Support Trans Student Rights

The time is now to stand up for trans students. Here's how you can help the National Center for Transgender Equality in protecting the rights of young people across the country.

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Apr 12 2017, 6:15pm

Many of the freedoms that cisgender people (that is, people who aren't transgender) take for granted are rights that trans and non-binary folks have to fight for. Simple things like having an accurate driver's license, employment in a welcoming workplace, or even going to the bathroom are often an uphill battle for trans people.

In 2003, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) was born as a way for trans rights activists to advocate in Washington on behalf of the trans community. For more than a decade, NCTE has raised awareness and made meaningful change on some of the most pressing issues affecting trans and gender minorities. Their work has led to major wins, for example in combatting gender-based violence in the Violence Against Women Act of 2004.

The organization has had a hand in shaping trans-inclusive legislation, like the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2004 and a congressional hearing on transgender issues in 2008. Despite the gains in visibility and basic human rights, trans people, especially trans women of color, still face widespread discrimination and harassment in many areas of life—including in school. Of respondents to the U.S. Transgender Survey who were out as trans or perceived to be trans in K-12, a quarter reported being physically attacked at school.

President Obama issued guidance last year saying that federal laws protecting students from discrimination based on gender also apply to trans students, which included ensuring that trans students have equal access to the bathroom that best fits their gender identity. Earlier this year, the Trump administration rescinded that guidance, making it clear that the administration is not concerned about putting trans kids in danger—though many courts agree that the federal laws still protect trans students.

Impact allies itself with the trans community and is dedicated to ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity regardless of their gender identity. Stand with us in our support of the trans community by participating in NCTE's valuable work and writing to your governor to encourage policies that protect trans kids. The group has also organized the Rally for Transgender Equality on June 9, Trans Lobby Day, in Washington, D.C. The goal of the rally is to amplify the message of equality in light of anti-trans discrimination and is another way to get involved in the movement.

In the words of a trans high schooler in Colorado: "Every student deserves a chance to get an education. That includes people like me. Don't allow my school to discriminate against me and make getting an education difficult. With all due respect, high school is hard enough."