The Federal Government Should Dictate Policy: An Affirmative View

Gender identity equality is a human rights issue that should not be left up to debate by the states. In order to ensure equality for all gender identities, we believe policy surrounding this topic should be strictly controlled by the federal government. With the federal government in charge, we are confident that legislation will allow for gender identity protections in all contexts and locations across the United States.

While some states may not want to acknowledge any identity besides the one a person is born into, many states have shown their support for gender identity equality by passing their own legislation to prevent discrimination in the workplace, restrooms, and schools.

However, without consistency in our laws across the country, we believe that it will be nearly impossible to achieve total gender identity equality in the future. This inconsistency provides little incentive for those with conservative views to open their minds to ideas they are unfamiliar with.

Although our country has ways to go until equality is reached, we do feel that the federal government has made some progress over the past decade. While the federal government does not have many laws that pertain to gender identity explicitly, many federal courts have begun to look at previous sex discrimination laws in a new light that applies to discrimination based on all gender identities.

In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will consider gender discrimination based on sex and gender identity discrimination to be synonymous under federal law. This means that people facing gender identity discrimination will receive many of the same protections as those facing discrimination on a basis of their biological sex.

Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice’s new stance had been applied to the Title IX of the Education Amendment Acts of 1972. This act was originally created to prevent sex discrimination in all educational programs that receive federal money. However, rather than solely protecting equality of the sexes, this law was then applied to those who are transgender or nonconforming.

While the U.S. has taken many steps forward, it has also taken several steps back since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency. Since Trump took office, he has withdrawn federal protections for transgender students that would allow them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. We believe that this decision is extremely harmful for transgender and nonconforming students who live in states that have chosen not to comply with the guidelines put in place by the Obama Administration.

We feel it is ridiculous that a person can have full rights in one state, and then be stripped of their rights in another.294114-bcc3812e620607e5a5a7e57ddc7ce713

Gender Identity Across the Country

The Human Rights Organization recently published a report on the main issues concerning gender identity in American schools. The study, which was done based on more than 500 student, teacher, parent, and other interviews, indicated that the lack of LGBTQ education amongst kids is detrimental to the lives of many and a key contributor to instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

While a number of states have been working to implement policies that protect the rights of LGBTQ youth in schools, a great deal of progress is still needed to be made. Additionally, many administrations have remained opposed to the idea of any gender identity curriculum to be implemented in a classroom setting.

Below is a map identifying the states that have laws against teaching LGBTQ issues in school. Limiting such education will only continue to hurt not only those who are victims of gender discrimination, but also society as a whole.us1216_antilgbt_map-01_0

An Affirmative View on Gender Identity in Schools

When most people think of gender, they usually think of two broad categories: male and female. Recently, people have been recognizing that gender is not binary and that it falls on a continuum, rather than being completely one or the other.Assuming that boys and girls identify with the gender they were assigned at birth goes against the research that has proved there is a range between masculinity and femininity. When children are forcews-busd to live by a gender that does not match their identity, many become depressed and have a harder time focusing and learning in school. Children may have a harder time dealing with their gender identity in schools because of the schools’ bathroom policies, dress code, preferred pronouns, and activities that separate members of the different sex.
Schools need to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to gain academic achievements and develop social skills. Educators need to concentrate on creating this environment starting at a young age because feelings of inconsistent biological and psychological gender identity have been beginning to form at younger and younger ages. Gender impacts a child’s experience at school across every grade and influences how the rest of their academic and social career will continue

In 2017, Washington public schools will begin to implement a gender identity curriculum in all grades beginning with kindergarten. Children as young as five years old will begin to learn about gender expression including the differences between gender and sexual identity as well as the traits that are typically associated with each gender.

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In order for schools to respect children’s gender identification, they must honor and build a strong sense of community and acceptance that allows students to feel comfortable sharing what they would like to be called, their preferred pronouns, and choice of restroom. If a student does not feel comfortable using either the men’s or women’s bathroom, the school should set up a gender neutral bathroom so that all students can feel comfortable and have their desired privacy. Another important action for schools to take is to have a dress code that does not limit what each student must wear according to their biological gender.

In order for children to feel completely safe in an environment that caters to their needs, schools should follow these actions, which will allow for the better psychological and physical well being of all students.

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