By Renata T
In the beginning of this school year, Michigan released a new LGBT policy. It was made up of a series of guidelines that defended LGBT rights, including allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their preference, and anti-discrimination policies to protect their human rights. But although the state of Michigan has decided to protect the LGBT students, our national government, under President Donald Trump, is not taking the same stance.
Trump’s administration has just reversed the federal guideline that decreed that transgender students are allowed to use the bathroom of their choice. This has left a lot of confusion for our local and state administrations, since they are left to make their own decisions about the restrooms. For many people, this is what they have wanted all along, believing that this guideline was federal overstepping or simply that they don’t agree with the fact that this group of people should be supported.
Although there is no problem in each individual school administration deciding their own guidelines, but this lifting has an enormous impact. Having the national government supporting and respecting LGBT makes the population and school administrators much more inclined to do the same. The lifting of this law begins to unravel the already unstable bridge that unites the gap of inequality between LGBT members and others. What many are failing to realizing is that this dismantling is not just the dismantling of a seemingly meaningful guideline of what bathroom to use. It is what it represents.
This rule made transgendered students feel a bit more welcomed and accepted into the “normal” society, it symbolized the government’s attempt to make them feel more safe in their schools, a place where they should be focused on growing and becoming educated and not on whether their school “permits” them to go to the bathroom of their choice. The lifting of the law has opened many human rights activists to protest in person and on twitter with the hashtag #ProtectTransKids. Many of the posts tagged in the hashtag are bringing up powerful images and stories of how much these kids will be negatively affected and what this means for their future. One that is particularly impactful is the one above, and one with the words, “It’s not about bathrooms… as it was never about water fountains.” If we begin to think about all the struggles we have overcome in the past, it is easy to see how they are connected, and still happening today. The important thing to remember is how to continue peacefully fighting for the rights of all humans.