Editor’s note: This letter is in response to The Badger Herald’s opinion associate Aly Niehans’ Feb. 23 column.
After reading Aly Niehans’ column published on Feb. 23, “Trump’s latest move against the LGBTQ+ community is disappointing, but not shocking,” I agreed with her point of view but felt the second half of her piece could be expanded on.
The Obama administration’s guidelines for transgender students are about more than just bathrooms to the community involved. They are also about taking a step toward normalizing transgender individuals and validating their feelings in respect to their own gender. When transgender suicide rates are almost 10 times the national average, the marginalization and discrimination of transgender people should be an issue the federal government addresses.
Transgender discrimination is a clear violation of gender discrimination and therefore Title IX, because being transgender directly revolves around gender identity. Many transgender individuals have reported experiences being denied access, harassed or assaulted while trying to use a public restroom. Encouraging states to protect the rights of their transgender citizens is the first step to fixing gender-based bathroom discrimination.
The arguments against Obama’s guidelines come from fear and ignorance of this emerging population. When you have not personally experienced identifying against the sex you were assigned at birth, it can be hard to understand those feelings. Many people use this misunderstanding to dismiss transgender individuals’ feelings and exclude them from the narrative. People are focusing on their perception of potential harm to themselves, their values and the people surrounding them instead of paying attention to the community these guidelines actually affect.
Transgender students face added pressures pursuing higher education while UW organizations look to helpFor James Van Able, being transgender on a University of Wisconsin System campus means questioning day-to-day actions like using the Read…
The guidelines put in place by the Obama administration do not allow any individual to walk into whichever restroom they choose. The guidelines let transgender individuals use the restrooms and other facilities that align with their gender identity. This protection of transgender rights does not put women or children in heightened danger of sexual assault because using bathrooms that do not align with either your gender identity or birth gender is not a legal excuse to spend time in opposite-gender bathrooms. Cisgender males and females are still obligated to use gender-appropriate bathrooms.
The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw these guidelines will lead to nothing more than further inequality and exclusion of the transgender community.
Rachel Lange ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in community and nonprofit leadership.