A lot of students face discrimination and harassment at school. Transgender and gender non-conforming students, however, are more prone to facing discrimination. It is important to, understand your rights to know when they are being violated. Head to studentdisciplinedefense.com to learn more about your rights and how to protect them.
Common forms of discrimination against transgender students. Transgender students face many types of discrimination at school. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Being expelled from school
- Being kicked out of class
- Being held after school
- Restrictions regarding the use of restrooms
- Discrimination within gender-segregated classes
- Being treated differently in any way based on your gender identity
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Typical Gender Discrimination Practices
The treatment of transgender students differently because of their sexual orientation or expression on the sexual spectrum may include being taken out of school, asked to leave class, detained after school, or other forms of discrimination.
The usage of selected names and pronouns to harass or mock, restrictions on using the restroom, conflicts over restroom use, unequal treatment in the management of gender-segregated classes (like physical education) and extracurriculars (like high school athletics), and unequal treatment in the application of dress codes are additional issues that have an impact on the human rights of transgender students in particular.
What are your rights?
According to Title IX, sex discrimination is illegal in almost all schools in the United States. There are other state and federal laws in place that protect transgender students from discrimination. According to these laws, some of the rights that you have in schools are:
- The right to be treated based on how you want to identify your gender
- The right to be referred to by your preferred pronouns and name
- The right not to be harassed, bullied, or discriminated against because of your gender identity
- The right to use restrooms and locker rooms according to your gender identity
- The right not to be forced to use separate facilities
- The right to get the same learning opportunities as everyone else regardless of your gender identity
- The right to protect your privacy and decide who you want to tell about your gender identity
- The right to join or start a student organization for LGBT+ students
What laws are protecting you?
Several state and federal laws protect transgender students from discrimination at school. Some of these laws are:
- No individual in the United States shall be barred from involvement in, be deprived of the benefits of, or be forced to submit to discrimination on the grounds of sex as per the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, formerly recognized as Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972. The federal government strictly forbids sex discrimination.
- School district policies and state laws: Many places also have school district policies or laws protecting transgender students from discrimination.
- The Equal Access Act: The Act states that all student organizations should be treated equally.
- Privacy and Family Educational Rights Act (FERPA)
Federal legislation known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) safeguards the confidentiality of student records. According to FERPA, parents have particular rights regarding the records of their children. When they become 18, transgender people acquire these privileges.
If student records are unreliable or deceptive, FERPA allows for their modification. This law permits name and gender marker changes for LGBTQ+ people.
- The First Amendment: All students’ freedom of speech and freedom of expression is protected by the first amendment of the United States.
Are transgender students protected under Title IX?
Although Title IX prohibits gender discrimination, this protection does not always extend to transgender students. However, there is still disagreement regarding this:
- The U.S. Department of Education published a set of guidelines in 2014 asserting that Title IX does, in fact, protect transgender students from discrimination in a school setting. The letter directed public schools to accommodate transgender students’ gender identities in all planning and execution processes, as well as in the management and assessment of single-sex courses.
- Through the Department of Education, the Trump administration revoked the legal protections from the Obama administration in 2017. The updated policies essentially warned Title IX-protected students to use the restroom or locker room that correlates to their gender at birth while maintaining their right to be free from harassment and discrimination.
- Following the 2014 guidelines, California and a few other states implemented legislation that effectively keeps the nondiscrimination protections for transgender children in place. But there is still ambiguity, both within the states and on the future course of federal policy.
- In the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, which was decided in June 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that discrimination on the basis of sex includes both discriminations against homosexuals and discrimination based on gender identity. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the subject of this federal court decision, whose interpretation is widely used to interpret Title IX.
- The Biden administration ordered all federal agencies to examine statutes, such as Title IX, that forbid sex-based discrimination in January 2023 to see if they also forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Title IX forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity, according to the US Departments of Education and Justice.
The Biden administration has made it clear that Title IX protections cover transgender students and that it will look into complaints concerning them. The Biden administration plans to dramatically revise the Title IX standards from the Trump administration in order to incorporate new safeguards for transgender students in 2023, even though these orders lack legal power.
Are you being discriminated against based on your gender identity?
If your rights as a transgender student are being violated, do not sit in silence and suffer. Reach out to an experienced medical student discipline defense attorney and protect your rights. A lawyer can protect your rights and ensure you get justice.