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GLSEN Condemns Title IX Court Decision
Senior Manager of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications Associate
GLSEN Condemns Court Decision Preventing U.S. Department of Education from Enforcing Title IX to Protect Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students
NEW YORK (August 22, 2016) – GLSEN’s Director of Public Policy, Nathan Smith, expressed disappointment with Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas’s ruling that the U.S. Department of Education could not enforce its interpretation of Title IX to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students from discrimination in schools. The Department of Education, with the U.S. Department of Justice, issued guidance to school districts on how to accommodate transgender and gender nonconforming students in May, prompting two separate lawsuits by more than 20 states opposing the guidance.
“This ruling, while not surprising, sends a terrible message to transgender and gender nonconforming students that they don’t deserve the same opportunities to succeed in school as other students. This ruling comes from a court specifically chosen for its track record of being on the wrong side of history. It is not the end of our fight to ensure that all students attend schools that are safe and affirming. It is incredibly important for schools to know that this ruling does not prevent them from enacting policies that are supportive and inclusive of their transgender and gender nonconforming students. In fact, such policies are even more crucial now as students go back to school, many without the support they might have expected from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice’s guidance.
“We call on school leaders and policymakers at all levels to focus, not on the politicizing rhetoric, but on the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming students and for parents, students and community members to tell their elected officials, including the next President, that they must support policies that provide all students with schools where they can succeed. Transgender and gender nonconforming students can and should continue to demand the support they need from their schools, including by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights if they face discrimination in school.”
GLSEN has created model laws and policies for schools, districts and states to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students are safe and affirmed at school, including a model district policy for accommodating transgender and gender nonconforming students that complies with Title IX.
The latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey found that transgender students were more likely to avoid gender-segregated spaces at schools, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. LGBT students who experienced discrimination and bullying and harassment at school were more than three times as likely to have missed school in the past month as those who did not, had lower GPAs than their peers, and had lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression.
GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN’s expertise to their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit glsen.org.