Title IX, a law which has traditionally been used to enforce protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) students, has recently had its protection guidelines in regards to TGNC students rescinded by the Department of Education.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos followed up on the redefinition of the law with a statement saying, “At my direction, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”
In response to the confusing messages being sent by DeVos and the Department of Education regarding Title IX, LGBT advocacy groups GLSEN and PFLAG have relaunched their 2009 #ClaimYourRights campaign, which assists transgender and LGB youth and their families in securing protections and support in their schools.
“Secretary DeVos has caused completely unnecessary fear and confusion among transgender students and their families by rescinding the Department’s guidance, and calling into question whether they will receive the help and support they need from the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR),” Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN and Beth Kohm, Interim Executive Director of PFLAG National said in a press release.
The campaign also provides advice, resources and advocacy opportunities to TGNC students and their families, defining other laws that protect transgender and gender-nonconforming students in wake of Title IX’s redefinition.
As a part of the campaign, GLSEN and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) put together a guide to inform transgender and gender-nonconforming students of their rights and protections within the school system.
“Gender-based violence occurs when people are fearful or intolerant of gender diversity,” reads a press release from GLSEN. “The identities, experiences and needs of transgender and gender-nonconforming people are often overlooked in schools. As an Ally to trans and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) people you can do your part to make sure that all students, including TGNC students are safe and respected in schools.”
GLSEN has also released a model district policy for school districts that wish to uphold TGNC protections. The model provides templates that schools and districts can use to easily construct and guide specific protections for transgender, gender-nonconforming and LGB students.
“This campaign began in 2009 as we first launched the partnership with OCR (Office for Civil RIghts) that eventually led to the guidance, to clarify what schools must do, based on years of investigation, advocacy and evidence on the ground,” reads the campaign website. “Let’s call [DeVos] on this promise and make sure she knows how badly OCR is needed. Please help spread the word that all trans students and their families should #ClaimYourRights.”