Last week’s State of the Union speech was historic for a number of reasons, but particularly for President Obama’s acknowledgement of needed reform to accommodate the rights of LGBT citizens. In response, Vocativ researched statewide policies and found that only 13 states enforce policies that protect transgender schoolkids, citing a proposed bill by Kentucky lawmaker Sen. C.B. Embry Jr. as continued pushback against trans rights. The bill would prohibit the use of bathrooms of a person’s non-biological sex, and would allow students to sue the school for up to $2,500 in fines should a trans child fail to comply. And while this may seem like a hateful, regressive measure, it’s certainly nothing new.
Vocativ writes that the proposed bill “highlights the reluctance to uphold protections currently afforded to transgender students across the U.S.” by way of the Equal Opportunity in Education Act. Title IX, to which it’s commonly referred, prohibits discrimination “based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation.” But as Vocativ notes, only 13 states have implemented laws that “explicitly protect trans students”: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
“There’s a long way to go when it comes to trans advocacy in the American government and beyond,” writes Bustle’s Kate Ward. “Here’s hoping the mere mention of transgender actually comes with policy in Obama’s remaining years in office. Because, as of right now, it’s just a word, unfortunately — time for action to come next.”