President Donald Trump’s rescinding of Barack Obama’s federal guidelines establishing protections for transgender students represents both a depressing step backward for civil rights and a betrayal of his promise to be a president for all Americans. The removal of these protections is not only a direct attack on the promise of equality and dignity for every American, but completely unnecessary.
Multiple city, police and school officials in states and communities with their own transgender protection laws have reported no increase in sexual assaults or cases of someone pretending to be transgender to gain bathroom access.
What has been reported is the overwhelming hostility transgender people face in our society, and the overwhelmingly negative effect it has on them. Studies have shown 41 percent of the transgender population has attempted suicide. That rate skyrockets to 78 percent among those who have experienced violence, whether physical or sexual, at school. A transgender person is four times more likely to have an income of less than $10,000. They face unemployment at twice the rate of the general population. One-fifth of them have been homeless, and many of them have reported being assaulted, harassed or denied at shelters. Twenty-five percent have lost a job due to their transgender status, and 90 percent said they faced some sort of job discrimination based on their gender identity.
Transgender rights are human rights, and we betray our principles as a nation when we fail to honor and uphold them.