The disenfranchisement of the LGBTQ community is an issue that has plagued society since the beginning of civilization. For long enough, the LGBTQ community has faced discrimination in all sorts of forms from enforcing policies that restrict only individuals part of the LGBTQ community to simply treating the members poorly or harshly to an extent where it could be considered dehumanizing.
The environment and conditions of public schools that negatively affect the LGBTQ youth community needs to be addressed, as it can deteriorate the mental health of students, and restrain them to reach their full potential to thrive in not only academics but their social life and overall wellbeing. The current status of transgender students and their rights to use school facilities designated to their gender identity is controversial. The debate has become widely popular over the nation and world as others feel it could affect their comfortability using the same restroom as transgenders. May of 2016, Former President Obama issued all schools to allow transgender students use the restroom of their preferred gender. Initially, this was a triump for the LGBTQ community, but later turned to a downfall when the order was revoked by current President Trump’s administration chair, stating it should be up the school to authorize the decision of which restrooms transgender students should use and not the federals.
While some states protect the rights of transgender individuals, about fifteen regulate public restrooms in high school, making it illegal for transgenders to use restrooms in accordance to their affirmed gender. This essentially condemns the rights of transgender teens as they do not have access to restrooms in their own school which can result in feeling excluded in a setting that should be accepting. States that regulate the restroom usage among transgenders not only make it illegal to use the restroom of their choice, but also uncomfortable and dangerous to use public restrooms of the gender they do not feel right in. Transgender students should have equal rights as cisgender students and the bathroom bill impede those rights. All students should feel inclusive in their school and the education system should reassure that by giving all students equal access.
Restroom restrictions are not the only cases that take away the rights of transgender students. Participation in high school sport team is also an issue for transgender students, preventing them to compete on the sport teams of their chosen gender. This decision solely depends on the state policies and while some are inclusive of the LGBTQ communty or have no policy, some also practice discrimination against the student, including: Texas, Idaho, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina. These states state that the participation of transgender students in high school sports depend on what gender is on their birth certificate unless surgery has been done for them to possibly alter what is on paper. This gives the LGBTQ community the idea that their right to play on a sports team depends on a piece of a paper. Other than being denied access from the education system, transgender athletes face oppression from others. According to GLSEN National School Climate Survey that examined the experiences of LGBT students in school athletics —8,584 LGBT students of the US and the District of Columbia—over a quarter of LGBT student athletes reported harassment or assault on a sports team because of their sexual orientation (27.8%) or gender expression (29.
4%).” After school curriculars should help students relieve the stress that comes from school by practicing the sports they are passionate for, not to be discriminated against or face maltreatment from their peers. For the restroom controversy, the opposing view believes once transgenders are allowed to the use the restroom of their choice, this will allow men to disguise themselves as transgenders and enter the women’s restroom to sexually harass women. This is similar to the argument of allowing transgender students play on their preferred gender sport team, viewing it as a loophole for boys to enter the girl’s locker room. In addition to this particular case, there are other arguments involving hormone therapies transgenders go through that will give them unfair advantage when competing. The opposing view, mostly consisting of conservatives, believe males transitioned to female have an unfair advantage that comes with strength and height from testosterone they are born with.
The facts prove there has been no reported cases of a man disguising himself as a transgender to enter the women’s restroom or locker room to sexually harass women in the US after a city or state has passed a law allowing transgender to use the restroom. It does not make an excuse for men to sexually harass women, as it is very illegal. However, there was one case in Canada where a man disguised himself as a woman to attack another woman in the shelters before any prohibition on discrimination laws passed, proving enforced laws are not the problem and will not be a problem. As for high school transgender athletes using hormones as an unfair advantage is proven false in a study conducted by medical physicist, Joanna Harper. Over a 7 year timespan, transgender female runners’ race time were collected to see if hormones had an effect. The data results in the female gender having slower times than male gender, proving hormone therapy gives transgender athletes physical fairness, not an unfair advantage as conservatives are worried primarily on male transitioned females. It is imperative that society helps the disenfranchised and recognizes the struggles plaguing.
It is the duty of society to bring awareness of the disenfranchisement of the LGBT community to promote equal rights protected just as cisgenders have theirs. Bringing awareness through professional advocates is extremely crucial in helping, but also starting protests to pass laws the prohibit the rights of these members. In the cases mentioned above, there needs to be federal laws that allow transgenders to have the same rights such as being able to play on their preferred gender sports team or allowing them to use the restroom of their choice, or even begin gender neutral restrooms. This is especially important as it affects specifically the minorty group: LGBTQ youth community. According to RC’s report, Growing Up LGBT in America, in a survey of more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17, 42% say they are not accepted in their community, they are twice as likely to get harassed and assaulted than their peers, 92% hear negative things about the LGBT community.
With these given statistics, the treatment they are receiving can affect their mental health, social life, and overall wellbeing that could lead to doing poorly in academics, bad health, or even worse, to committing suicide. This is why it is essential to have more advocates for the LGBTQ community to help build an accepting community and protect the youth as it can restrain or discourage them to pursuing and thrive to a healthy life.