DETROIT – Nearly 800 parents of transgender children across the U.S. penned a letter to President Donald Trump this week, asking him to preserve Obama-era protections for trans students.
23 of the parents who signed the letter are from Michigan.
Dear President Trump,
As parents of transgender children, we were heartbroken and scared when we learned that your
Administration’s Department of Justice had dropped its objections to a nationwide hold on Obama era
protections for transgender students. You promised to be a president for all Americans, but less than 48
hours after Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General, the Department of Justice took a concrete
step to undermine equality for the LGBTQ community.
All students deserve equal access to a safe, welcoming school and a high quality education no matter who
they are and where they live. This is the value at the center of our nation’s education policies and civil
rights laws and it is a principle espoused by the 2016 guidance issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice
and Education seeking the fair and respectful treatment of transgender students in our nation’s schools
In communities across this country, thanks in part to this guidance, we have seen transgender students of
all ages seamlessly welcomed into their schools by friends and faculty. We have witnessed, first hand, the
success of inclusive policies that reflect the overwhelming consensus from health professionals like the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association that affirming our
children's gender identities is imperative. And, as more transgender young people come out, the guidance
adopted by the Obama Administration continues to offer teachers and administrators a helpful tool in
building learning environments that allow all students to flourish.
Sadly, there remain some in our school environments who still choose to target our children for
mistreatment and violence. Many of us find ourselves in school districts or states that are considering or
have already adopted policies that single-out transgender students for discrimination. We know the
devastating impacts these policies can have. 75 percent of transgender young people report feeling unsafe
in school. One study found that more than fifty percent of transgender youth have attempted to commit
suicide at least once in their lifetime. These policies are wrong, they hurt our children, and they violate
the principle of equal protection.
We could not be prouder of our children. They have shown our families and the world a courage and
authenticity that has filled our hearts and opened our minds. Their lives enrich our homes, our schools,
and our neighborhoods. We have seen many recent, pivotal changes that signal a bright future.
The Boys Scouts of America recently changed its policy to include transgender boys in their organization, a move that mirrors a similar longstanding policy by the Girl Scouts of America welcoming transgender girls.
The cover of National Geographic magazine featured a bright eyed, brave young transgender girl. In
contrast to these positive social changes, the decision by your Administration to undermine our legal
progress is mean-spirited and potentially threatens the wellbeing of our beloved children.
Like all parents, all we want is for our children to be healthy, safe, and loved. No young person should
wake up in the morning fearful of the school day ahead. When this guidance was issued last year, it
provided our families -- and other families like our own across the country -- with the knowledge and
security that our government was determined to protect our children from bullying and discrimination.
Please do not take that away from us. We ask you to preserve the guidance and instruct the Departments
of Justice and Education to robustly pursue every opportunity to enforce Title IX on behalf of transgender
The Justice Department, in a filing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, withdrew its challenge to the court ban just one day after Jeff Sessions was sworn in to head the agency as Attorney General.
The ban on Obama's transgender student guidance was issued by the court last August after 13 U.S. states, led by Texas, filed a lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor issued the temporary injunction, stating that Title IX "is not ambiguous" about sex being defined as "the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth."
A hearing in the case was set for this past Tuesday, but Friday's Justice Department filing asked that it be canceled.
The letter from parents was organized by national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and includes families from 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
"Just 48 hours after the confirmation of his anti-equality attorney general, Donald Trump's administration directly attacked LGBTQ equality and took aim at the rights of transgender youth," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a press release.