Last week, Donald Trump took a major step to undo the progress of the trans rights movement. The Trump administration rescinded federal guidelines that enabled transgender students to choose to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. The protections had been implemented less than a year earlier under Barack Obama.
During a press briefing last week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defend the move to revoke the federal guidelines, saying that the regulation of transgender bathroom rights was a state issue. "If a state wants to pass a rule or a law, that's their right," Spicer said. "But, it shouldn't be the federal government getting in the way of this."
In the span of the past week, the nation has taken to the streets with protests against Trump's decision to reverse the trans bathroom order. While already facing more hardships than their cis gender peers, trans kids need your support even more now — not only in staying safe but also growing up into adults. Here are just a handful of reasons for why we need to protect trans kids, many from the youth who need the support.
1. Other Cultures Already Get It
A report from ABC News revealed that the third gender Fa'afafine has existed and been integrated into mainstream Samoan culture since the early 20th century. In fact, Samoa even throws a Miss Fa'afafine transgender beauty pageant. The more people that work to normalize the trans experience from childhood on, the sooner all people can be safe and celebrated through adulthood and culture can be enriched.
2. Children's Genitalia Is No One's Business
In January, there was a House Bill 663 proposed by the Virginia House of Representatives member Mark Cole that could have required children to undergo genital inspection before bathroom use by adults and authorities, according to a report by the Huffington Post. This in itself, is a huge infringement on human rights.
3. Human Rights Aren't A Reach
The fact that we are even having a conversation about whether trans kids are allowed to go to the bathroom that matches their gender identification says a lot about the current state of human rights.
4. Go Beyond Facebook Filters
If you're feeling unsure of where to begin, or how to take action, the trans-inclusion quick guide is a good resource to get started on educating and organizing yourself.
5. Kids Should Feel Their School Is A Place Of Safety
Schools should be one of the sure places where children feel safe and protected and have space to exist without facing discrimination.
6. A 17-Year-Old Is Leading The Fight
On March 28, the spoken arguments will begin for 17-year-old Gavin Grimm's Supreme Court case against Gloucester County school board. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Virginia county school board barred Grimm from using the men's bathroom. The outcome of his case may serve as a huge marker for trans bathroom rights everywhere.
7. Kids Are Not A Safety Threat
Trans kids should be protected and not demonized and put on trial for existing.
8. Trans Teens Should Not Fight Alone
Being in school is terrifying enough already without dealing with a heap of institutionalized bigotry on top of it all.
9. It's Not "The Land Of The Free" If Children Are Afraid For Their Safety
According to a study from the National Center of Transgender Equality, as many as 82 percent of trans kids reported that they felt unsafe at school. It is staggering the amount of kids who perpetually feel unsafe at the institution they attend daily.
10. Kids Should Be Celebrated While They Go Through Treatment
We should do the work to build a system where trans children, teens, and adults feel safe to express and celebrate gender expression, as well as the process of taking hormones (if that is part of their specific gender experience).
11. Feelings Of Suicide Are All Too Common
I was beat up almost every day in school, spit on and punched. Eventually, I tried suicide TRANS STUDENTS WON'T SURVIVE WITHOUT OUR SUPPORT💛— jeffrey marsh (@thejeffreymarsh) February 25, 2017
According to a study that compiled data from the Williams Institute and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide attempts from transgender and gender non-conforming people revealed that as many as 46 percent of trans men attempted suicide at one point in their lives, and as many as 42 percent of trans women. To me, this is a sign that our culture hasn't been supporting trans people.
A few great organizations to check out in order to provide support, as well as educate yourself, include The Trevor Project, which runs suicide hotlines and provides mental health support for LGBT youth. There's also the Trans Law Center, which lobbies for policies that protect trans rights in the workplace, in the housing market, and at large. There's even a guide full of tips for allies of transgender people put together by GLAAD. Complacency isn't an option if we care about trans people.