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Last week I attempted to write something positive to show that there is still hope for the trans community and progress is still being made, but unfortunately I feel compelled to wade back into the cesspool of politics given the importance of Wednesday’s events and the impact they will have on the most vulnerable members of our community; our children.

It was a shameful day for America Wednesday when the Trump Administration rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use the bathroom which corresponded to their gender identity, and in the process overruled his own Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. A letter issued jointly by the Justice Department and Education Department rejected the Obama Administration’s stance that nondiscrimination laws required federally funded schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice in schools, claiming it disregarded the primary role of states and local school districts to set educational policy, and was an example of federal overreach and a misinterpretation of federal law.

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So the Trump Administration has made it official that they will not protect transgender students from discrimination and bullying. They have in effect sanctioned the bullying of trans children, who already have to deal with disproportionately higher rates of bullying, violence, and discrimination. And the sad reality is that there will be an increase in the bullying of trans student and a corresponding increase in suicides of trans students. Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, wondered “What could possibly motivate a blind and cruel attack on young children like this? These transgender students simply want to go to school in the morning without fear of discrimination or harassment. The consequences of this decision will no doubt be heartbreaking.”

The letter did state that “All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment” but personally I don’t put much stock behind that statement, given the systematic assault on LGBTQ rights since Trump took office. This is not just about transgender students; it once again shows how the Trump Administration feels about federal civil rights and specifically rights for trans people. The Obama Administration was progressive about rights for the LGBT community and a lot of gains were made, but the Trump Administration has made it clear they take a much narrower view of civil rights law, and that trans people have a lot to be fearful of. If we cannot count on the government to protect transgender children in schools, then there is something very wrong with this country.

I have always been proud of my country and proud to be an American, but today I feel ashamed of our nation and the direction we’re heading; that I as a trans person am treated as a second-class citizen and forced to fight for basic human rights. We as a nation need to take a hard look at ourselves and the decisions our elected representatives are making, and ask ourselves if this is really what America stands for and if this is how the Founding Fathers envisioned this nation being run. And as citizens of this country we need to ask ourselves if Donald Trump is upholding his responsibilities as President of the United States and giving all citizens equal rights and opportunities. Has our society deteriorated so badly that it’s become acceptable to openly discriminate against certain groups of people, and to put children at risk? I thought America and its citizens were better than that, but sadly it appears I am wrong.

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