U.S. Rep Mark Pocan
Press Release

Rep. Pocan, 121 Members of Congress Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging the President to Reinstate Guidelines for Transgender Students

The bipartisan letter is supported by the ACLU, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, PFLAG, Transgender Law Center, and the Center for American Progress.

By - Mar 2nd, 2017 11:52 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) led a bipartisan letter with 121 Members of Congress to the President urging him to reverse the recent decision to rescind guidance regarding protections for transgender students under Title IX. The letter also asks the President to meet with transgender students and their families to hear their stories and learn from their experiences.

In the bipartisan letter, the Members of Congress state:

“Title IX provides transgender students the right to equal treatment in accordance with their gender identity. Unfortunately, rescinding this guidance only serves to confuse school administrators and take away a vital tool for students and their families who want to be treated with dignity and respect.

“Further, this action sends the wrong message – a very dangerous message – to transgender youth and their peers. For these reasons, we urge you to reverse your decision and reinstate the Title IX guidance.”

The bipartisan letter is supported by the ACLU, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, PFLAG, Transgender Law Center, and the Center for American Progress.

The text of the letter is below and an electronic copy can be found here.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:

We write to urge you to reconsider your decision to rescind important Title IX guidance detailing schools’ obligation to protect transgender students from discrimination. The guidance set forth by both the Departments of Education and Justice in May 2016 has helped educational institutions answer common, practical questions concerning this population of students while maintaining compliance with the law. Further, we ask you and members of your administration to meet with transgender students and their families who have relied on this guidance for a safe learning environment and hear their stories about what it means to be transgender in school.

Hundreds of thousands of transgender students live and attend school in every part of our country. A recent report by the Williams Institute estimated there are over 350,000 transgender teens and young adults between ages 13 and 24 in America. Studies show that transgender students are healthy and successful when they receive support and fair treatment, but too many of these students face discrimination. The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents who identified or were perceived as transgender in K–12 school had one or more negative experiences, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, or physically or sexually assaulted.

Singling out transgender students by excluding them from school facilities and forcing them to use separate facilities is a real and harmful form of discrimination that causes humiliation and puts students at risk for bullying and health problems.

The federal guidance issued in May 2016 pertaining to transgender students reflects over a decade of case law and proven best practices from schools around the country. The Departments issued this guidance at the request of educators across the country seeking clarification about how to best comply with existing laws. National leaders in education – including the leading associations of teachers, principals, pediatricians, and school counselors and psychologists – supported this clarification.

Title IX provides transgender students the right to equal treatment in accordance with their gender identity. Unfortunately, rescinding this guidance only serves to confuse school administrators and take away a vital tool for students and their families who want to be treated with dignity and respect. Further, this action sends the wrong message – a very dangerous message – to transgender youth and their peers.

For these reasons, we urge you to reverse your decision and reinstate the Title IX guidance. Furthermore, we urge you, the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to meet with transgender students and their families to hear firsthand about their school experiences. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

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