The Trump administration has decided to revoke a federal protection of transgender students on Feb. 22— and Branham students aren’t happy.
This came before the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student from Virginia who sued to use the bathroom for which he identified.
In the past few years, President Obama had written several memos that guided state legislature under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. The law guarantees participation in education programs regardless of sex or orientation.
These memos argued that transgender students should have access to bathrooms, locker rooms and other gendered facilities that match their gender identity and that this right is protected by federal law. This is why many students, especially trans students, are upset that Trump has withdrawn these memos.
The Trump and Supreme Court decisions defer to individual states, which have their own policies on bathroom use. California in particular requires gender neutral bathrooms.
“From my perspective we are following the state laws right now and we’ll go from there,” Principal Cheryl Lawton said.
Branham is planning to add curtains in locker rooms in the next few weeks to add comfort and safety for students, and plans to install gender neutral bathroom facilities within the next five years.
Reactions from the transgender community at Branham about the Trump administration’s decision was harsh.
“I was thinking to myself ‘I guess I’m going to be breaking that law every day,’ but then I saw that it said states can make their own laws,” said Ten Sanchez, a trans sophomore. “Luckily, California still protects us … but it’s still pretty sad that we [the U.S.] are regressing.”
He’s offended at the Trump administration’s choices.
“If the law doesn’t protect trans people, how can the public expect it to protect other civilians?” he asked. “If this really is the land of the free, shouldn’t we all be able to use a public bathroom comfortably?”
Skylar Henry, another trans sophomore, said that it’s important “that transgender people can use the bathroom of the gender they identify with regardless of the sex they were born with. It is our natural right as human beings,” and that this should be guaranteed by law.
“We are human beings just like everyone else,” Skylar continued. “The fact that this is even happening is sickening. This is making the transgender community, which consists of many teenagers like me, feel targeted and dehumanized.”
Junior Sophia Rich, another trans student, is upset by the news.
“I’m furious,” she said. “Trans people have every right to be treated like normal people because we ARE normal people… Aside from the anger, I also feel insecure, like I’m walking on a tightrope without a safety net.”
Others took to Twitter tweeting with the hashtags #ProtectTransKids and #IStandWithGavin. Branham students such as sophomore Riya Kapoor took part in the hashtag by tweeting, “#ProtectTransKids this is about human rights. Spread love.”