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The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, expressed outrage over the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind Obama administration guidance from the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Department of Education (DoE) that ensured transgender students are treated with dignity and respect. The original federal guidance clearly stated schools’ obligations to protect transgender students under Title IX and ensure they have access to facilities consistent with their gender identity, among other protections.

“We are outraged at this incredibly harmful decision to rescind crucially important guidance ensuring transgender students are treated with dignity and respect.  Our military families with transgender children are especially fearful about the impact this harmful decision will have on their families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “With often no choice where they are stationed, this decision will have profoundly negative consequences for these military families — families who already face significant challenges in their selfless service to our nation.  It is crucially important now that school administration officials stand in the gap and ensure the civil rights of transgender students are enforced.”

“Leaving the civil rights of our transgender daughter up to the states to decide places my family at the mercy of the state we are assigned,” said Jessica Girven, an AMPA member and mother of a transgender daughter whose Air Force family is scheduled to move back to the states from their duty station in Germany soon. “My husband has dedicated 15 years to his country, and it is the only life we have known as a family. But now, we feel like we are being forced to choose between service to our country and what’s best for our child. No parent should ever have to choose that.”

“This decision makes me so incredibly sad, fearful, and angry, because I know the consequences it will have,” said Amanda Brewer, an AMPA member and mother of a transgender daughter whose Army family is currently stationed in Virginia. “It’s frightening that the administration wants to leave it up to the states to decide whether or not to uphold the civil rights of my daughter. This set back could hurt so many military kids, including mine.”

The Obama administration guidance had helped ensure that transgender students are treated fairly in federally-funded schools, including by having appropriate access to facilities consistent with their gender identity, having their names and pronouns respected, and having their privacy and dignity preserved. The original guidance had been requested by teachers and school administrators and provided clarification to current law.

Schools still have a responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students, and AMPA urges transgender students facing discrimination to file suit under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

In a letter organized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) “Parents for Transgender Equality Council,” more than 1,000 parents of transgender children from 45 states and Washington, DC, recently urged President Trump not to rescind this guidance.

A survey by the HRC Foundation found that three-quarters of transgender students feel unsafe in school settings.