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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Legal battle persists over policies that require teachers to refer to trans students by their chosen pronouns

In Tennessee, a proposed law would forbid public school teachers from calling transgender students by the pronouns used for them.

At Shawnee State University – a public university in Ohio – the US to settle a lawsuit filed against the school after a professor was disciplined for refusing to refer to a trans female student as “he” or “her”. Paid $400,000.

In Loudoun County, Virginia, a public school teacher was suspended for objecting to the use of pronouns for trans students, but the state’s Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement pending the case. As in the Shawnee State professor’s case, the school district chose to compromise. Along with this, it was also agreed to remove the disciplinary action from the teacher’s file.

As a researcher who focuses on the experiences of trans college students, I see all three cases as part of a disturbing trend: Trans students’ right to be free from discrimination is at best and consistently legal. is under attack.

In many ways, legal attacks are coordinated. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group, is behind anti-trans law in America. The organization represented Shawnee State professors and Virginia school teachers in their lawsuits. It is also supporting other teachers in similar lawsuits.

more at risk

To those on the edge, the legal battle over the rights of trans students may seem like one of many contemporary cultural battles or polarizing political debates. But for trans students, the right to be respected and recognized by the way they see themselves is a matter of quality of life and – in some cases – a matter of life and death.

Research has consistently shown that trans youth have higher rates of mental health challenges – including depression, anxiety and suicide risk – than their nontrans peers. This is because of the stress they experience as a result of prejudice and discrimination.

A 2021 survey by The Trevor Project – a non-profit organization that conducts suicide prevention and crisis interventions for LGBTQ youth – provides additional insight. It found that if trans and non-binary youth were discriminated against because of their gender identity in the past year, they were twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who did not report discrimination .

The survey also indicated that the more a young person’s pronouns were not respected, the higher the risk of suicide.

Thus, regardless of what state or federal law or courts may say about whether teachers should refer to students by the pronouns they use for themselves, there is strong evidence that doing so. – or not – can significantly affect the mental health of students.

recognition and rights

Also, many K-12 school districts, colleges and universities, state and federal governments enable trans students to identify with the way they see themselves.

For example, at the college level, I have found that more than 200 colleges and universities enable students to indicate their pronouns in the schools’ student information systems. It includes the state university systems in Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. Students’ pronouns then appear on course rosters and sometimes on other administrative records. At the University of Minnesota, the policy states that university members are “expected to use the name, gender identity, and pronoun specified by other university members, except as required by law.”

People rallied to support trans children in Minnesota.
Michael Siluk / UCG / Universal Image Group via Getty Images

At the state level, 19 states have guidelines for trans inclusion in K-12 public schools. These policies call for trans students to be referred to by the pronouns they use for themselves. For example, Massachusetts policy states that “school personnel must use the student’s chosen name and pronouns appropriate to the student’s gender identity, regardless of the student’s birth gender.” However, none of the policies I’ve seen actually explain what happens if a teacher or professor refuses to respect the pronouns of a trans person.

political change

The status of trans student rights is subject to change depending on which party is in the White House, controls state legislatures and appoints judges in state and federal courts.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, for example, is seeking to challenge a Virginia law — passed in 2020 after Democrats gained control of the Virginia General Assembly — that requires state school boards to protect the rights of trans students. which includes allowing students to “emphasize a name”. and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity.”

The legal status of trans students’ rights is constantly changing at the federal level, as the current and two previous administrations have interpreted Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972. This is the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in any education program. or activity that receives federal funding.

The Obama administration considered post-trans discrimination to fall within the definition of “sex” in Title IX. For that reason, the Obama administration issued guidance in 2016 for schools to protect the rights of trans students. A central provision of this guidance was that “a school must treat students in accordance with their gender identity.” This involved using the pronouns that students indicate to identify themselves.

However, the Trump administration scrapped the guidance shortly after taking office in 2017. The Trump administration argued that the law’s use of “sexual discrimination” was limited to discrimination based on “biological gender,” not gender identity.

Then, at the start of his administration in 2021, President Joe Biden restored the previous understanding of Title IX through an executive order. It stated that trans people were covered under the prohibition of sex discrimination in Title IX and other federal laws.

equal protection

The Biden administration rooted its argument on the Constitution’s equal protection clause. It also based its position on a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that included anti-LGBT discrimination.

That Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. It recognized that the prohibition on “sexual discrimination” in federal employment law—known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—applies to discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The Biden administration argues that if “gender discrimination” in a federal law includes anti-LGBT discrimination, then all federal laws with similar language should be interpreted in the same way. From this perspective, discrimination against trans students, which includes not respecting how they identify their gender, is a violation of Title IX. Violations of Title IX can result in loss of federal funding.

Based on all the political changes, proposed laws, and lawsuits over whether teachers should refer to trans students by the pronouns of their choice, it is clear that this issue will be a matter of legal dispute for the foreseeable future. A key question is how much trans students should suffer while society debates whether they have a legal right to be identified by the pronouns they use for themselves.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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