One Equal World

Posts Tagged ‘trans students

A bathroom with a gender sign on it that says, "who cares?"

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Trans bathrooms are a hot button issue right now. Conservative pundits argue that if trans people are permitted to use the women’s restroom, there will be a massive increase in rapes, child molestation cases, and peeping Tom incidents. Even though experts have already proven this notion to be false, this “predator myth” still stubbornly persists despite zero evidence to support it.

What the latest research does show is that not allowing trans people to use the restroom of the gender they identify is incredibly harmful to our children. In other words, the future of society is at stake and it’s up to us to ensure that we create a more inclusive environment for our youth.

The study found that ensuring the safety of trans students in high school bathrooms is essential to providing them with educational equality. Based on surveys of five schools in Michigan conducted in 2014, researchers found that trans students who didn’t feel safe in the bathroom generally didn’t feel safe at school, which could impact their grades and self-esteem.

High school is already a notoriously difficult time, but for trans students trying to figure out their gender identity, it can be even more difficult. What’s more is that high school students have considerably less agency and mobility than adults, which means that when they’re subjected to unsafe conditions, it’s a lot harder for them to do anything about them.

This research comes at an important time, as several U.S. courts are currently dealing with cases related to bathroom access for trans students. This research suggest that even the relatively simple solution of including gender-neutral bathrooms in schools can go a long way towards making these students’ lives a lot easier. That may not address the underlying social problems that make trans students feel unsafe in school bathrooms, but it can help those students get by as we continue to fight for trans inclusion.

girl playing football

The new legislation is the first of its kind and will help advocate for trans youth.
Image: Shutterstock

Earlier this month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the School Success and Opportunity Act into law, a groundbreaking bill designed to ensure that transgender youth have equal opportunities in school. The examples of opportunities provided in the legislature are ones that many non-trans students often take for granted. Now, transgender students who want to participate in after-school programs, athletics, and other school-sanctioned activities are permitted to do so, by law.

According to LGBTQNation, “The law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2014, is the first of its kind in the country, and requires that California public schools respect students’ gender identity and makes sure that students can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity.” Massachusetts and Connecticut have established similar protective laws for transgender youth, but the School Success and Opportunity Act is the first policy that has been put into legislative statute and required in every school district in the state.

The act establishes legislative rights for transgender youth, and is also representative of California’s efforts to create social change around areas that concern children who don’t identify within common gender binaries. Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center explains, “Now, every transgender student in California will be able to get up in the morning knowing that when they go to school as their authentic self they will have the same fair chance at success as their classmates.”

 California is certainly breaking ground as one of the first states to create legislature that seeks equal opportunities for its transgender youth; recognizing that transgender students need to be advocated for in the first place is a huge step forward for equal rights at large.