Tag Archives: LGBT

Trump administration omits LGBT people from 2020 Census

The Trump administration has submitted to Congress a report of the list of categories of data it plans to collect for the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey.

The administration’s report excluded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on the list of “planned subjects” for the nation’s decennial census and longer form survey.

“Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were included as “proposed” subjects in the appendix, indicating that data collection on these categories may have been in the works in an earlier version, according to the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Last year, a number of federal agencies urged the U.S. Census Bureau to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data, explaining that the information was critical to their ability to carry out  and enforce the law.

“The Trump administration has taken yet another step  to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice and equity by choosing to exclude us from the 2020 Census and American Community Survey,” said Meghan Maury, criminal and economic justice project director for the task force.

Maury continued, “Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps. If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?”

The task force said there are a series of administration directives to remove sexual orientation and gender identity questions from federal surveys  and also to stall assessment of programs targeting the LGBTQ community.

The census does collect data on same-sex couples through its “relationship to householder” question.

“We call on President Trump and his administration to begin collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data on the American Community Survey as soon as possible and urge Congress to conduct oversight hearings to reveal why the Administration made the last-minute decision not to collect data on LGBTQ people,” Maury said.

For more than a decade, the task force has encouraged the federal government to collect data and improve data collection to accurately show the country’s population of LGBTQ people

In 2010, the task force launched the “Queer the Census” campaign, calling on LGBTQ people to urge the Census Bureau to count them.

More than 100,000 LGBTQ people  placed a “Queer the Census” sticker on their 2010 Census envelopes.

Competition launched to redesign Harvey Milk Plaza

When San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk  rallied crowds in San Francisco, he inspired a generation and helped forge the LGBT civil rights movement.

Now steps are underway to create a tribute to Milk and the gay rights movement, with a major reimagining of Harvey Milk Plaza, including an international competition to design the space.

The project has gained the support of those who knew Milk best.

Author and activist Cleve Jones, who stood with Milk at rallies in the same plaza 40 years ago, said, “Harvey understood that the LGBT community was part of something larger, and creating something special here will inspire others to carry on the global movement for peace and social justice.”

The Harvey Milk Plaza Competition is a partnership of:

• the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza.

• the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter.

• the Center for Architecture + Design.

• San Francisco Department of Public Works.

• San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

San Francisco Art Commission.

Initial funding of $500,000 from an anonymous donor will support the design competition and subsequent plaza development.

Additional fundraising efforts are underway to secure another $10 million required for full funding of design, construction, and maintenance of the plaza.

“The city must redesign Harvey Milk Plaza and the Muni Metro station to comply with accessibility mandates,” Andrea Aiello, chair of Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, stated. “With such substantial work already underway, a coalition of local residents, community groups and stakeholders asked city leaders if the same construction project could reimagine the space as a fitting tribute to Milk and LGBT rights, and the city agreed, however we still have a substantial amount of fundraising to do in order to ensure the success of the project.”

“Harvey Milk was always pushing what is possible, bringing people together, and focusing on what we can do collectively to create change,” said Jennifer Jones, AIASF executive director. “That’s really what we’re doing with the design competition: sourcing ideas from architects and design teams who comprehend the challenges of the space, but, like Harvey, recognize that no challenge is insurmountable or outweighs the importance of creating a gathering space for a community.”

Trump team rolling back data collection on older LGBT adults

Hardly two months into the Trump administration — and only one month after Congress confirmed notoriously anti-LGBT Tom Price as health secretary  — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has eliminated questions about LGBT people from two critical surveys.

The administration is already rolling back data collection on LGBT people who receive certain federal programs, making it impossible to assess whether key programs for seniors and people with disabilities are meeting the needs of LGBT Americans.

Putting LGBT older adults at risk

The National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants is an annual, national survey of people who receive select services funded under the Older Americans Act, or OAA, the primary vehicle for delivering social support and nutrition programs to older adults in our country.

These essential programs include home delivered meals, congregant meals, transportation, caregiver support, and senior centers. The survey obtains performance outcome information, identifies service gaps, and supports program improvements. Policymakers and advocates rely on data to ensure OAA programs are meeting their goals without leaving anyone out.

The National Survey started collecting data on LGBT program recipients in 2014, and continued to do so in both 2015 and 2016 (available on file with CAP).

HHS’ proposed 2017 protocol, publicly announced on March 13, omits the survey’s only question about sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite the fact that LGBT people have been erased from the survey, the notice announcing the proposed survey alleges that “no changes” were made to the survey.

LGBT older adults face acute levels of economic insecurity, social isolation, and discrimination — including difficulty accessing critical aging services and supports. Data on LGBT program recipients would help HHS ensure its programs are meeting the need of LGBT seniors.

By rolling back data collection on LGBT people, HHS is giving up the tools it needs to ensure its effectively and equitably reaching all elders, including LGBT elders.

Ending data collection on LGBT people with disabilities

The Trump administration is also targeting LGBT individuals with disabilities, removing questions on LGBT identities from the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living.

A proposed redesign of the performance report was issued in January 2017 and did include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity; however, a revised version, issued in March 2017, omits these questions.

The Annual Report helps HHS evaluate the effectiveness and equity of programs designed to serve people with disabilities and ensure they can live independently in their homes and communities.

Available research suggests that LGBT people, especially LGBT older adults, face significant barriers to accessibility services. For this reason, it is particularly concerning that HHS is abdicating its responsibility to ensure the programs it funds equitably serve LGBT people with disabilities.

Why data matters

Data on LGBT program recipients could reveal disparities in how these HHS programs—which provide a critical safety net for to seniors and people with disabilities—serve LGBT people, potentially indicating discrimination or other barriers to access in the programs.

By rolling back data collection, the Department of Health and Human Services is throwing away the tools to ensure the department reaches vulnerable LGBT people in programs ranging from home delivered meals and senior center group meals, to transportation, caregiver support, and health promotion services.

Federal data collection on LGBT people is already scarce, but rolling back collection on crucial safety net programs is particularly disturbing. LGBT people experience overt and systematic discrimination across all areas of life—from education to housing, healthcare, employment, and the public square.

As a result, LGBT people face acute levels of income insecurity, making it particularly important that federal safety net programs meet the needs of the LGBT community.

By removing this data, the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Price risk erasing the experiences LGBT seniors and people with disabilities and making it impossible for HHS to identify and end disparities and discrimination in taxpayer-funded programs.

Sejal Singh is the Campaigns and Communications Manager for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress. Laura E. Durso is the Vice President of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress. Aaron Tax is the director of federal government relations for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders.

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ aims to enchant a new generation

In 1991, Disney struck gold with Beauty and the Beast. The film enchanted audiences and critics alike, and raked in several hundred million dollars along the way, but also upended expectations of what an animated film could be.

Not only did the New York Times theater critic controversially call it the best Broadway musical score of the year (spurring an actual Broadway show three years later), it also was the first-ever animated film to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.

Over a quarter century later, the legacy endures but times have changed, and there’s a new Beauty and the Beast on the block. Out March 17, the film is a lavish live-action reimagining of the “tale as old as time” with state-of-the-art CG splendor, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s classic songs and score (and a few new tunes with Tim Rice), and a modern social consciousness.

The film stars Harry Potter’s Emma Watson as the bookish heroine Belle, who yearns for adventure outside of the confines of her “small provincial town” and Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens as the cursed and cold Beast. Their supporting cast is a coterie of veterans, including Kevin Kline (Maurice), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Audra McDonald (Madame Garderobe), Stanley Tucci (Maestro Cadenza) and Ewan McGregor (Lumiere).

That Disney’s specific vision for Beauty and the Beast has lived on is no surprise, and its 13-year run on Broadway helped keep it in the cultural consciousness.

“It’s genuinely romantic, a genuinely beautiful story,” Menken said of its lasting appeal.

And then there’s the nostalgia aspect. For many (including the cast), this was a seminal childhood film.

Luke Evans (Gaston) saw it when he was 12, Josh Gad (LeFou) when he was 10, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette) when she was 8. Suffice it to say, they all knew the lyrics to the songs before they were cast.

The remake is also part of the Walt Disney Company’s ongoing strategy to mine their vaults for animated fare worthy of live-action re-creations. Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King are just a few already in the works.

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t worthy updates to be made in Beauty and the Beast. Director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) delighted in rooting the story in a specific time and place — 1740 France — and adorning every last corner of the production with Rococo and Baroque details.

Technology advances allowed the production to render household objects that look believable when brought to life. The Beast’s look, meanwhile, was achieved by combining performance capture and MOVA, a facial capture system, meaning Stevens throughout production walked on stilts and sported a prosthetic muscle suit with a gray body suit on top. (Yes, he danced in this getup).

The characters are more fleshed out as well. The Beast gets a backstory. As does Belle, whose independence looked refreshingly radical in ‘91 and goes even further here.

“She’s a 21st century Disney princess. She’s not just a pretty girl in a dress,” Evans said. “She’s fearless and needs no one to validate her.”

That the woman behind the character is also the UN women’s goodwill ambassador only adds to its resonance.

“I think Emma’s an incredible role model for young girls, as somebody who has two daughters but also has a young son who I want to grow up with these values instilled,” Stevens said.

And, in a tribute to Ashman, who died of complications relating to AIDS at age 40 before the ‘91 film came out, the production even unearthed forgotten lyrics from his notes, which they’ve added to two songs in the new film — Gaston and Beauty and the Beast.

While many of the beats, and even lines, remain the same as in 1991, the world looks more diverse from the very first shots. Faces of all races can be seen both in the grand castle and the country town.

“(Condon) wanted to make a film that was resonant for 2017, that represents the world as it is today,” said Mbatha-Raw.

Much has been made, too, of LeFou’s subtle “gay moment,” which put the internet in a tizzy far ahead of anyone actually seeing the film. On one side, GLAAD was applauding, on the other, a Facebook page apparently belonging to the Henagar Drive-In Theatre in Henagar, Alabama, announced that it would not be showing the film.

Many in the production have backed away from the topic entirely.

“To define LeFou as gay … nobody who sees the movie could define it that way. He’s enthralled with Gaston,” Menken said. “I’m happy that LeFou is getting so much attention. But I pray that this stupid topic goes away because it’s just not relevant with any respect to the story. Even the one moment that’s being discussed is just a silly little wink. It’s nothing.”

For his part, Gad thinks it’s been “overblown,” too, and that the story is more about “inclusiveness” and not judging a book by its cover.

“It’s a story with a lot of wonderful messages, and, really once you watch the film, anyone who is wondering what it’s all about will understand that it’s a beautiful story, inclusive of everyone. It’s a legacy that I’m proud to be part of,” Evans added.

“But you can judge Gaston by his cover,” he said with a smirk. “That’s exactly who he is.”

Trump administration’s delegation to UN women’s conference includes hate group reps

The State Department announced this week that its official delegation to the 61st annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women includes representatives of two organizations known to oppose the UN human rights system, LGBTIQ rights, and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

These groups are the Center for Family and Human Rights and the Heritage Foundation. C-FAM is labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Heritage Foundation has called for a cut in funding for programs combatting violence against women and claims that anti-discrimination laws grant LGBT people “special privileges.”

OutRight Action International, a 27-year-old international LGBTI human rights organization with ECOSOC status, challenged the inclusion of these groups in the delegation to the UN CSW.

“In their Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of State Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley repeatedly pledged to uphold the right to be free from discrimination as an American value,” said Outright executive director Jessica Stern. “The appointment of these organizations to the official U.S. delegation undermines their positions. I urge Secretary Tillerson and Ambassador Haley to ensure that the US delegation maintains non-discrimination at the CSW in the face of obvious pressure from these newly appointed members of the delegation.”

Outright said fundamentalist notions about how women and girls should behave should not be the basis of advising or negotiating U.S. foreign policy.

Stern said, it is also a “bad sign that two organizations that have tried to delegitimize the United Nations and human rights internationally now sit on the official US delegation. Maybe the violent mentality that got C-FAM labeled a hate group successfully panders to their base, but the US government must ensure protection for the world’s most vulnerable people.”

C-FAM regularly releases homophobic vitriol on its website, has called for the criminalization of homosexuality and has even espoused violence.

Its president, Austin Ruse, has said, “The penalties for homosexual behavior should not be jail time, but having some laws on the books, even if unenforced, would help society to teach what is good, and also would prevent such truly harmful practices as homosexual marriage and adoption.”

In defiance of evidence, Ruse has asserted that, “the homosexual lifestyle is harmful to public health and morals.”

During an interview in 2014, Ruse commented that he hoped his children would attend private colleges, “to keep them so far away from the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities, who should all be taken out and shot.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has considered C-FAM a hate group since 2014.

The Heritage Foundation and its sister organizations has at least 11 past employees now working in the Trump administration and has provided much of the domestic and foreign policy blueprint the Trump administration used in its first days in office.

In its call to cut funding for programs combatting violence against women, the Heritage Foundation said such programs amount to a, “misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that are truly the province of the federal government.”

The organization continually purports that anti-discrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity are unjustified. It alleges that such laws, “do not protect equality before the law; instead, they grant special privileges.”

The organization steadfastly rallies against the rights of transgender people. It claims that, we “are created male and female and that male and female are created for each other.”

Stern said, “Practically speaking, the U.S. should support CSW conclusions that condemn discrimination on any basis, support family diversity and support the full range of conditions that enable women’s economic empowerment, including comprehensive family planning.”

Gay veterans: We’ve been denied spot in St. Patrick’s parade

A gay veterans group says it has been denied permission to march in this year’s Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade just two years after organizers made the groundbreaking decision to allow gay groups to participate for the first time.

The veterans group, OutVets, said on its Facebook page that the reason for the denial is unclear, but “one can only assume it’s because we are LGBTQ.”

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the parade’s organizer, drew immediate condemnation from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who said he would not participate in this year’s parade, scheduled for March 19, unless the council reversed course.

“I will not tolerate discrimination in our city of any form,” he said in a statement. “We are one Boston, which means we are a fully inclusive city.”

Democratic State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, whose district includes South Boston, asked the council to reconsider its decision.

The vote left OutVets leadership stunned.

“It’s disgusting and disgraceful that they would do this to their own, because we are veterans like them,” said Bryan Bishop, an Air Force veteran who founded OutVets.

The council gave no reason for its 9-4 vote, Bishop said.

Emails and phone messages seeking comment from the council on the reasoning were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Ed Flynn, a member of the council, said he voted to allow OutVets to participate in the parade through the largely Irish-American neighborhood, which in the past has drawn as many as one million spectators.

“I am saddened and outraged that the Allied War Veterans Council has voted to turn back the clock on equality,” he said in a statement, adding that he will ask the council to reconsider the vote.

OutVets has gone out of its way to conform with the parade’s code of conduct the last two years, Bishop said. “If we did break any rules, we were never informed,” he said. The only issue OutVets had with parade organizers was over use of their rainbow flag, he said. That issue was resolved.

Bishop said he heard rumblings that OutVets would be barred from this year’s parade as far back as November when Brian Mahoney, the former commander of the veterans’ council, died.

Mahoney had been firmly in OutVets corner.

“The only thing I can assume is that with Brian no longer there to beat the drum for us they had enough support to put us out,” Bishop said.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council for decades fought legal battles to keep gay organizations out, even winning a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1995 backing their right to bar gay groups.

“This is a black eye on South Boston,” Bishop said. “This is not who we are as Bostonians.”

 

Supreme Court sends transgender rights case back to lower court

The Supreme Court on March 6 announced it is sending Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding a Title IX Guidance clarifying protections for transgender students.

“The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to end the painful discrimination currently faced by tens of thousands of transgender students nationwide,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, the nation’s largest group dedicated to protecting LGBT teachers and students and promoting tolerance in schools.

The remand means that the Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in the transgender rights case on March 28.

The Fourth Circuit of Appeals originally ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm in his case challenging a Virginia school board’s decision to force him to use a separate, single-stall restroom that no other student is required to use.

Joshua Block, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s LGBT Project and lead counsel for Gavin Grimm, said the Supreme Court’s decision did not change the meaning of the law.

“Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination,” Block said in a news release. “While we’re disappointed that the Supreme Court will not be hearing Gavin’s case this term, the overwhelming level of support shown for Gavin and trans students by people across the country throughout this process shows that the American people have already moved in the right direction and that the rights of trans people cannot be ignored.”

Block said the legal fight is taking a detour, not the end of the road.

Gavin’s case has drawn support from a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, businesses, law enforcement agencies, education groups and more.

The National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García said on March 6, “We, as educators, have a moral, legal, and professional duty to support all students, including our transgender students, and nothing about the Supreme Court’s decision today to remand Gavin’s case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit changes that.

“While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court deferred deciding whether Gavin’s rights were violated when he was discriminated against at school for being transgender, we are confident that the Fourth Circuit, and eventually the Supreme Court, will ultimately vindicate his rights.”

 

Groundswell of legal support for transgender teen whose fight is before the Supreme Court

Individuals and institutions from across the country representing a diverse and extraordinary cross-section of interests, perspectives and concerns filed friend-of-court briefs today in support of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old high school student from Virginia.

The case is over a school board’s refusal to allow him access to the boys’ restroom because he is transgender. The dispute will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 28.

The case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., has elevated national discussion on the importance of reinforcing and protecting the rights of transgender students and it has drawn support from people across the country urging the court to ensure fair and equal treatment for transgender students under the law.

That growing support was showcased in the briefs filed March 2 in support of Gavin by legal experts, families of trans students and many others. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Gavin, was compiling briefs today.

“The overwhelming level of support demonstrated for Gavin today from fellow transgender youth, business leaders, educators, faith leaders, medical professionals, political leaders and more underscores the urgency of stopping these attempts at expelling trans people from public life,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “Trans people deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else, and it’s heartening to see individuals and institutions across the country standing with Gavin in his fight.”

The filing of friend-of-court briefs show support from:

• More than 1,800 faith leaders.

• Many of the nation’s most prominent business leaders (including Apple, Airbnb, eBay, Microsoft, PayPal, Salesforce).

• Major medical associations representing the scientific and medical consensus (including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, Endocrine Society).

• Labor unions representing more than a million teachers.

• More than 60 current and former law enforcement officials from across the country.

• Major civil rights organizations (including NAACP, National Women’s Law Center, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights).

And a number of other groups and individuals across the country representing educators, students, parents, lawyers, artists, scientists and veterans.

“One of the most important missions we have as a district is to create safe and welcoming learning environments where all students, including transgender and gender-nonconforming students, are respected and can flourish,” said Tommy Chang, superintendent of Boston Public Schools. “Although the federal government recently rescinded its guidance protecting transgender students in our nation’s schools, transgender and gender nonconforming students in the Boston Public Schools will remain protected from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

“All students should feel safe in school, including transgender individuals,” said Rev. David W. Key, founding pastor of Lake Oconee Community Church in Greensboro, Georgia. “At the heart of all faith traditions is the support for human dignity. As a Baptist minister, I urge all good people of faith to rally for this cause. Gavin Grim deserves our unwavering support.”

As organizations and individuals filed friend-of-court briefs in support of Gavin, more than 500 Christian moms from across the country sent a letter of support, stating “we want you to know that we care about you and recognize the courage it takes to stand up for trans rights the way you are doing. We are moms who understand because some of our own children have had to exhibit the same kind of courage when they finally determined to come out and began living fully into the person they were created to be.”

Transgender students and their parents also spoke out in support of Gavin.

“When I came out as a transgender boy at my school, I was singled out and asked to use a separate restroom simply because I am transgender,” said Brandon Adams, a 15-year-old transgender teenager from Framingham, Massachusetts. “When I complied with the school’s request and used a gender-neutral restroom, other students would physically harass and bully me. Because of their hatred and fear, I often avoided the restroom at school, causing me to drink less water, get headaches, and feel dehydrated. I asked to use the boys’ restroom because that’s where I felt safe, because that’s who I am — a boy. Schools should support students in any way they can, and make all kids feel safe, so we can focus on our education and on being kids. I hope the Supreme Court listens to our stories and stands up for equal treatment for kids like me and Gavin.”

“When Brandon came out as transgender at his school, administrators were mostly supportive, but they simply seemed at a loss for what to do, especially because they were untrained and uneducated about what it means to be transgender,” said Jonathan Eber, father of transgender teenager Brandon Adams in Framingham, Massachusetts. “The solution was simple: Brandon is a boy, and he belongs with other boys, not treated differently because of who he is. Brandon has been thriving at school ever since his school updated their policies to be fully inclusive and supportive of transgender students. Kids should be thinking about their first date, about getting their driver’s license, about applying to college — not living in fear. Being transgender is only one part of who Brandon is and there is so much more to his story. We hope the Supreme Court affirms fairness for all of our children so that no one has to face discrimination when they should be focused on their education.”

“This is not a case about bathrooms — it is a case about fundamental civil rights,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. “Separate but equal is not equal. We know that from our history, and we know that from our hearts. Stigmatizing an already vulnerable group is not an American value. Equality, compassion, and being true to yourself — those are qualities we all embrace.”

Trump administration revoking guidelines protecting transgender students

The Trump administration will revoke federal guidelines that tell public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, the White House said on Feb. 22.

The decision would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive advising public schools to grant students access to facilities in line with their expressed gender identity and not necessarily the gender on their birth certificate.

A government official with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press that the Obama-era guidance would be rescinded, but anti-bullying safeguards would not be changed.

The Obama administration’s guidance was based on its determination that Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education and activities, applies to gender identity.

While not legally binding, the guidance sent a warning that schools could lose federal funding if they did not comply.

Republicans have pushed back, arguing that the federal effort was an example of the Obama administration meddling in state and local matters, and in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas put a temporary hold on the Obama guidance after 13 states sued.

The Washington Post first reported the Trump administration’s plans and LGBT rights groups have been rallying the community to protest for several days.

“By rescinding these protections, the Trump administration is compromising the safety and security of some of our most vulnerable children,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “Reversing this guidance tells trans kids that it’s OK with the Trump administration and the Department of Education for them to be abused and harassed at school for being trans.”

Legal experts said the change in position could impact pending court cases involving the federal sex discrimination law, including a case set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in March, involving a transgender teen who was denied bathroom access in Virginia.

Here’s more reaction to the development…

OutServe-SLDN executive director Matt Thorn: “This action also strikes in contradiction to first lady Melania Trumps’ mission to eradicate bullying and marginalization of our youth in this country. This rescission directly and emphatically opens the door for discrimination and bullying of already vulnerable students who need nurturing and protection.”

GLSEN executive director Dr. Eliza Byard: “While the Trump administration may abandon transgender students, GLSEN never will. This guidance was developed and issued to support transgender students because the reality is that transgender students are far more likely to face severe violence and discrimination at school than their peers, placing them at greatly increased risk of suicide and self-harm as a result. When students are allowed to be themselves, they thrive. This guidance changes and saves lives and hurts no one. It should not be withdrawn.”

Rea Carey, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force: “Protecting those who are the most vulnerable in our education system should always be a top priority for any President of the United States and his cabinet. Their jobs should be to ensure that all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, receive a top notch education. But Trump isn’t any president: he, Pence, Sessions and DeVos are chomping at the bit to weaken our nation’s public school system and in this instance have reportedly sought to remove the few protections young transgender students have. It’s shameful and we are not going to stand for it. Anyone who agrees that trans and gender nonconforming students deserve equity in our nation’s schools, should join us in calling on this administration to stop working to undermine these protections.”

NEA president Lily Eskelsen García: “Every student matters, and every student has the right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our public schools. This is our legal, ethical and moral obligation. The Trump administration’s plans to reverse protections for transgender students by rescinding the Title IX guidance, is dangerous, ill-advised, and unnecessary.

“We reject this discriminatory plan because it is a drastic departure from our core values. We don’t teach hate, we do not tell people how to pray, and we do not discriminate against people based on their religion, gender, or identity. Period.

“As the Trump administration threatens our students and our values, we will double-down on our efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including our LGBTQ students and members. We urge more states, school districts, and schools to adopt protections for transgender students. We owe to our students because they need to see us take a bold stand against discrimination whatever form it takes.”