New Education Dept. policy threatens rights of trans students


Anh Nguyen | Design Associate

New Education Department Policy threatens rights of trans students

It is no secret that the Trump Administration has been unfriendly to transgender people, but this month actors in the White House have taken a brazen step to further target trans people. The administration reversed Title IX protections that establish guidelines in protecting trans people from discrimination and ensuring they have access to the bathrooms of their choice.

Though this federal action might have been expected, Tulane’s decision to drop the “T” from LGBTQ in the climate survey was much more surprising. It seems that every day Tulane students are losing access to their rights and safety. This is unacceptable at all levels.

Trans students have always been fighting for representation and safety. Currently, up to 75 percent of trans students nationally say they feel unsafe, and 59 percent have been denied access to the bathroom of their choice. Though significant advances have been made for the rights and protections of trans students, there is still work to be done.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration have just signed an attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This decision was not only a transphobic attack but a targeted stripping of rights and protections of the government. 

These actions cannot stand. The government should not be allowed to deprive students of their rights because of their identities. When so many people who deserve an education feel uncomfortable because of who they are, something is wrong. The administration’s move to alienate them only makes things worse.

DeVos clarified this action, saying that universities will still be able to investigate and uphold the rights of their students. Though this is true, it becomes much harder to enforce when there is no federal law. Even a supposedly “progressive” institution like Tulane dropped trans people from their studies of sexual harassment on campus. Without binding rules for all students, universities can and will drop protections for their students.

Here at Tulane, the effects of rescinding these rules are already felt. This is not just disappointing for Tulane, but for the entire country.

“Tulane is not adequately supporting marginalized students,” Lily James, a transgender student at Tulane, said.

Tulane’s reason for dropping “T” from LGBTQ was due to these students being “statistically insignificant” in the findings. This is erasure in its purest form. Though a group may make up a small amount of the total population, it is no excuse to remove them from a study, especially one focused on something as important as sexual harassment.

“It is very problematic to drop the ‘T’ just because there weren’t enough numbers, or even include them in LGBQ. It was only added in the late 90’s, and it has been a struggle. Trans people have been told to wait their entire lives,” James said.

Our country and Tulane need to change. There needs to be a blanket of protections for all trans and non-binary people in this country. If the government refuses to act for them, we must force our institutions and universities to support people of all kinds. More representation is necessary if we ever are to truly reach equality and protection for all.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Quinn is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected].

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