Lesson to Lawmakers: Don’t Use State Law to Put Trans Students in Harms Way for More Discrimination and Harassment
WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement after media reports of an anti-transgender bill (AB 469) in the Wisconsin Assembly, which would be harmful to children,temporarily postponed a hearing on the legislation, which was originally scheduled for today. If passed, the discriminatory bill would not only expose transgender and gender non-conforming students to additional bullying, harassment and discrimination, it would put the state in direct violation of federal law. The decision came two days after a similar school district policy in Illinois was found to be in conflict with federal law.
“Allowing AB 469 to move forward will put transgender and gender non-conforming students at unacceptable risk for discrimination and harassment, and would put school districts and educators in direct conflict with federal law. The bill would establish a policy that is not only wrong and deeply harmful, it would create unnecessary confusion and liability for schools all across Wisconsin, ” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Moving forward, rather than putting transgender students at risk for more bullying and harassment, the legislature should focus on creating a learning environment that enables all students to succeed, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
This year has seen an alarming uptick of anti-transgender state bills across the country. These bills came in several forms, aiming to restrict transgender Americans’ access to public accommodations, school activities, or appropriate medical care. They have been introduced in several states, including Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Connecticut, and South Carolina. Fortunately, each of these harmful state bills was defeated in 2015, although such legislation is likely to be reintroduced next year.
Just this week, opponents of LGBT equality in Houston used smear tactics to attack transgender people and derail an ordinance that would have included non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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