Trump’s reversal of protections for transgender students doesn’t add up
As critical as I’ve been about Donald Trump, one part of his plan that I did appreciate was his apparent willingness to defend LGBTQ rights. In his otherwise apocalyptic convention speech, Trump promised that, “As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
When North Carolina passed a law restricting which bathroom trans people can use, Trump said trans people should, “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” His pick for vice president, Mike Pence, is obsessively anti-gay, but Trump still had a glimmer of hope.
And that hope was obviously misplaced.
Despite his campaign promises, President Trump has rescinded federal protections for trans students in schools. He was helped by Jeff Sessions, the new and controversial attorney general. Obama’s Justice Department argued that current laws prohibiting sex discrimination applied to trans people as well, and they deserved legal protection. However, under Sessions, the department now will fight to support trans discrimination, which means it will switch sides in a current Supreme Court trial.
The excuse for not allowing trans students to use their bathroom of choice is that it puts other students at risk. But there’s no evidence that trans students are threats to other students. The opposite, in fact, is likely true. A recent study has shown that the legalization of same-sex marriage is responsible for a decline in teen suicides. Telling children that, instead of being sick, they are healthy and deserving of love and respect improves their mental health. If the GOP really is concerned with the welfare of our kids, why do they want our kids who are different to feel unwelcome and unloved?
I don’t understand why there is so much hate for LGBTQ people. Is it simply because they’re different, so people assume they must be evil? These same people who denounce them for immorality ignore that adultery and divorce are also biblical sins, yet you don’t see these people calling for those to be outlawed or made illegal. These same people voted for Trump, the man who bragged about sexually assaulting women. I don’t think his voters are sincerely concerned with sexual ethics.
Any panic assumes that trans people are sexual predators who will assault everyone else in the bathroom. But this doesn’t happen. There is more evidence for Republicans being arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than trans people. If we want to protect people in bathrooms, then we’d be better off if we banned Republicans from bathrooms instead.
The truth is that trans people are at a higher risk for being discriminated against, and the social pressure for them to conform to rigid social expectations drives their suicide rate sky-high. One study showed that trans youth rejected by their parents were 13 times likelier to attempt to kill themselves, and 40 percent of trans people have attempted suicide at least once. This is a health crisis, but one easily solved by showing compassion.
It’s not hard to help them. Instead of telling trans people that they are sick or broken, let them know they belong and make a place for them. Protect them from bigotry and prejudice and speak out publicly to support them. There is hope among our institutions — the Supreme Court just chastised a legal council for misgendering a trans person in a case — but that hope will not come from the president.