The U.S. Department of Education has expanded Title IX protections to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The move reverses Trump-era policy and stands against proposals in many states to bar transgender girls from school sports.

In a policy directive, the department said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity will be treated as a violation of federal sex discrimination law. The decision is based on last year’s Supreme Court ruling protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said students “have the same rights and deserve the same protections” as worker

The Department of Education’s order comes as several states, including South Dakota, moved to limit transgender participation in sports.

Back in March, Gov. Kristi Noem signed two executive orders banning transgender women from competing in South Dakota sports programs. Noem signed the order after a bill limiting transgender participation in sports died in the legislature following a number of requested revisions from the governor’s office. Noem also launched a coalition called “Defend Title IX,” which she said was part of a broader effort to take on the issue at a national level.

Noem’s spokesperson Ian Fury issued the following statement to regarding the Department of Education’s announcement:

“Governor Noem will continue to defend Title IX from this outrageous overreach by the US Department of Education. As the Governor has long said, only girls should play girls’ sports. Title IX was passed to protect fairness for women. The federal government should enforce Title IX in a way that protects fairness for women’s sports, rather than misusing it in a way that undermines fairness.”

In June of 2020, the US Supreme Court handed down a ruling that barred employers from discriminating against queer and transgender employees This was the latest of many fights happening worldwide to introduce or strengthen legislation to protect the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace.

While this landmark ruling is a great step forward, the LGBTQ+ community – and the trans and gender-diverse community in particular – still frequently face discrimination in workplaces around the world.

Alex Hattingh, CPO at HR Software platform Employment Hero, shares how you can look out for the signs that employers are creating inclusive environments for everyone.

1.     If you hear it, call it out

Trans and gender-diverse employees are almost twice as likely to hear sexist jokes about people of their gender, or to hear demeaning comments about people like themselves. From this, they are three times more likely to feel like they can’t talk about themselves or their life outside work. This is likely part of the reason why trans people frequently think about leaving their company. So if you hear something transphobic or offensive, call it out and make sure there are disciplinary measures in place.

Fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces opens your business up to invaluable diverse thinking. Diverse and inclusive workplaces can also make a significant impact beyond the office door, creating better professional lives for people from minority groups and driving change in society-wide inequalities.

2.     Find out what your company does to help transgender people live authentically

When your employees were onboarding, did you offer them a chance to select their gender identity when they’re filling out their onboarding documents? In addition to ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ tick boxes, companies should include ‘Non-binary’ or ‘Prefer not to say’, so you can understand their gender identity before they start the job. For example, Employment Hero has gender selection options of ‘female’, ‘male’, ‘non-binary’ and ‘would prefer not to say’ as a standard inclusion on the paperless onboarding system.

3.     Know your pronouns

Personal pronouns are the words we use to describe ourselves or others – ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’. For a non-binary or gender neutral person, you should use the word ‘they’ in the place of ‘he’ or ‘she’. For a trans person remember to use the pronoun that aligns with the gender of which they identify. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about what pronouns to use with someone, ask them.

It can be distressing for a person who is trans to be called by the name they used prior to transitioning or by incorrect pronouns. Make sure when you’re talking to or about a trans person you remember to use their identified name.

Sometimes, mistakes will happen. If yourself or one of your employees do slip up, offer a private and professional apology and remember for the future. Increasingly, more companies are including gendered pronouns as standard for all staff on email signatures. This is a positive and inclusive way to support trans and gender-diverse way in being addressed by their correct pronouns.

4.     Create a culture of allyship

In the workplace, allies can be leaders, managers or employees who acknowledge, respect and value differences. Being an effective and authentic ally means more than one single act of solidarity. It means taking the long road to understanding and empathising with the various inequalities minority groups experience.

Displaying allyship can include standing up against discriminatory behaviour when you see it, challenging microaggressions, and explaining sensitive topics to non-diverse employees so the individual doesn’t have to. The burden on individuals from minority groups, such as the trans and gender diverse community, to talk to their identity time and time again can be exhausting.

Whilst it’s great to get to know your trans and gender-diverse employees better, don’t spotlight or ask frequent questions about their identity or experience, even if it’s in a positive light.

5.     Remember your inclusive terms

Here’s a glossary, to help you use language that is professional AND inclusive:

Transitioning

Transitioning is the process of a person beginning to live as another gender.

Gender Identity

An individual’s gender identity describes their personal conception of themselves as male, female or non-binary.

Cisgender

The term cisgender refers to a person whose sense of gender identity corresponds with their birth sex.

Folx

Folx is an alternative spelling to the word “folks”. The term can be used to indicate inclusion of different groups, and is a good alternative to “guys” or “ladies and gentlemen” when speaking.

An Indiana school district’s policy requiring teachers to use students’ names and pronouns consistent with their gender identities is a key piece to bolstering transgender youths’ physical and mental health, physicians tell a federal court.

A landmark 2018 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that transgender youth who could use accurate names and pronouns experienced 71% fewer symptoms of severe depression, a 34% drop in reported suicidal thoughts and a 65% decrease in suicide attempts, the brief tells the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in an amicus brief it filed with several other organizations.

The brief supports the Brownsburg Community School Corp. (BCSC) in a lawsuit challenging its policy requiring school employees to refer to students by names and pronouns they or their parents list in the “PowerSchool” database. A music and orchestra teacher in the district, John Kluge, refused to follow the policy and resigned. He then sued BCSC and is asking the court for an accommodation that would allow him to refuse to use the name listed in PowerSchool and instead only use last names because of his religious beliefs.

The AMA and others ask the court to not let the lawsuit continue, telling the judges that Kluge’s proposed accommodation would make transgender students feel stigmatized and singled out for differential treatment, harming their well-being.

“In light of the significant challenges that transgender youth face, school communities such as BCSC must prioritize policies that respect and protect the rights of students, including policies that require respect for the names and pronouns that match a student’s gender identity,” the brief says.

The AMA filed the brief in the case—Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corp.—along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Indiana chapter; the National Association of Social Workers and its Indiana chapter; and Indiana Youth Group Inc., a nonprofit that promotes LGBTQ+ youth safety and healthy development. The AMA also took part in an amicus brief in a similar case in Ohio, Meriwether v. Hartop.

Learn about physicians’ support for a congressional bill to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans.

The AMA and other amici tell the court they are committed to helping ensure transgender children have access to full educational opportunities and that their mental and physical wellbeing are protected. Their brief explains the challenges for transgender youth and the importance of affirming their gender identity.

Academic and medical research has shown transgender youth—which includes more than 100,000 U.S. teenagers—encounter “severe discrimination” in the school environment. Citing data from a number of studies, the brief tells the court surveys of transgender students and youth show that:

  • 78% were discriminated against at school.
  • Over 75% reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the previous two weeks.
  • 60% engaged in self-harm.
  • 40% were physically threatened or harmed because of their gender identity.
  • 20% attempted suicide in the previous year.

The students also were 1.66 times likelier to be bullied at schools, says the survey research cited in the brief.

Research shows these numbers go down when transgender children receive support in their gender identity. For example, the Journal of Adolescent Health study and others show that the levels of depression become similar to other youth.

A growing number of education and mental health professionals—including the amici, the National Education Association, the Council on Social Work Education and the American Psychological Association—believe schools should allow transgender students to be referred to by gender-affirming names and pronouns.

“The empirical data and expert consensus support defendant BCSC’s requirement that teachers respect students’ names and pronouns,” the brief concludes. An accommodation for Kluge “would deprive transgender students of a secure and supportive educational environment that increases the opportunity for physical and emotional wellbeing and academic success.”

The AMA Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues highlights LGBTQ news and topics related to patients and physicians.

June 1, 2021 - President Joe Biden's Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, June 2021.

The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice joe biden president official photo 2021for all.  Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality.  Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity.  This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.

The LGBTQ+ community in America has achieved remarkable progress since Stonewall.  Historic Supreme Court rulings in recent years have struck down regressive laws, affirmed the right to marriage equality, and secured workplace protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in every State and Territory.  The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act broadened the definition of hate crimes to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity.  Members of the LGBTQ+ community now serve in nearly every level of public office — in city halls and State capitals, Governors’ mansions and the halls of the Congress, and throughout my Administration.  Nearly 14 percent of my 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ+, and I am particularly honored by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate. 

For all of our progress, there are many States in which LGBTQ+ individuals still lack protections for fundamental rights and dignity in hospitals, schools, public accommodations, and other spaces.  Our Nation continues to witness a tragic spike in violence against transgender women of color.  LGBTQ+ individuals — especially youth who defy sex or gender norms — face bullying and harassment in educational settings and are at a disproportionate risk of self-harm and death by suicide.  Some States have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our Nation’s values of inclusivity and freedom for all.

Our Nation also continues to face tragic levels of violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color.  And we are still haunted by tragedies such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.  Ending violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community demands our continued focus and diligence.  As President, I am committed to defending the rights of all LGBTQ+ individuals. 

My Administration is taking historic actions to finally deliver full equality for LGBTQ+ families.  On my first day in office, I signed an Executive Order charging Federal agencies to fully enforce all Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.  As a result, the Federal Government has taken steps to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in employment, health care, housing, lending, and education.  I also signed an Executive Order affirming all qualified Americans will be able to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States — including patriotic transgender Americans who can once again proudly and openly serve their Nation in uniform — and a National Security Memorandum that commits to supporting LGBTQ+ Federal employees serving overseas.  My Administration is also working to promote and protect LGBTQ+ human rights abroad.  LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, which is why my Administration has reaffirmed America’s commitment to supporting those on the front lines of the equality and democracy movements around the world, often at great risk.  We see you, we support you, and we are inspired by your courage to accept nothing less than full equality.

While I am proud of the progress my Administration has made in advancing protections for the LGBTQ+ community, I will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.  That is why I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Equality Act, which will ensure civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and families across our country.  And that is why we must recognize emerging challenges, like the fact that many LGBTQ+ seniors, who faced discrimination and oppression throughout their lives, are isolated and need support and elder care. 

During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically.  In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.  This Pride Month, we affirm our obligation to uphold the dignity of all people, and dedicate ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable among us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, to celebrate the great diversity of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
Source: Office oof the White House

When state Rep. Stephanie Byers, a former high school music and band teacher, decided to run for office to represent Kansas' 86th District as a Democrat in the Republican-majority state House, she didn't know what to expect. The district, which includes much of Wichita, was nearly evenly divided among Democratic, Republican and independent voters, said Byers, who also happens to be transgender.

After her win in November, she's now Kansas' first transgender elected official and the country's first trans Native American elected official. (Byers is a descendant of the Chickasaw Nation.)

"When you add in the uniqueness of myself as a candidate, being a trans woman, nobody really knew how this district was going to play out," said Byers, 58. "There was uncertainty the whole time."

So when she found out that she had fended off her Republican opponent by 11 points, she was elated, she said. Her win, she said, was "indicative of where the people of Kansas are."

"We're more of a purple state than people realize — we're just a purple state that always seems to go red," she said. "It really is that the people are more accepting than the politics are."

Several policy proposals targeting LGBTQ Kansans have come up since Byers took office: In February, four House Republicans introduced a bill that would have made it a felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming surgery or other transition-related treatments to minors. And in April, the Legislature voted to ban transgender athletes' playing on girls' and women's school sports teams — one of the dozens of bills targeting transgender youths introduced in statehouses across the country. Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, called the bill "regressive" and vetoed it; legislators came one vote short of overriding the veto in the Senate.

Byers testified against the bill at a hearing in February, saying the school district where she had taught provided a welcoming environment for transgender students. The district also lost trans students to suicide, she said, adding that she feared it could happen again if the bill were enacted.

"When my trans students would hear their names called and their pronouns used, they would beam," she said at the hearing. "It's a tremendous feeling to not be invisible but rather be seen for who you truly are."

It was one of many moments in Byers' new political career when she relied on communication strategies she honed in more than two decades teaching at Kansas' largest public high school.

"When you teach, it's not necessarily what you're trying to say — it's how it's received. When dealing with politics, you sit there and consider, 'What I'm going to say, how it's going to be received, how can I make those connections so that the message gets through?'" she said. "I'm a physical embodiment of what they're talking about — even if they see me as a 58-year-old woman and not a 16-year-old girl — but they realize this is who a trans person is."

While she has faced her fair share of challenges in the state House, Byers' students and school community were "overwhelmingly supportive" of her identity since she came out as transgender in 2014, she said

By the time she retired in 2019, she had begun to be recognized nationally as an advocate by LGBTQ organizations. In 2018, she was named Educator of the Year by the national LGBTQ youth advocacy group GLSEN. In October 2019, she spoke out in behalf of trans educators and students at a rally sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union outside the Supreme Court as its justices were hearing arguments in cases that would ultimately forbid job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.By the time she retired in 2019, she had begun to be recognized nationally as an advocate by LGBTQ organizations. In 2018, she was named Educator of the Year by the national LGBTQ youth advocacy group GLSEN. In October 2019, she spoke out in behalf of trans educators and students at a rally sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union outside the Supreme Court as its justices were hearing arguments in cases that would ultimately forbid job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the House's next session, Byers hopes to continue to propose policies protecting LGBTQ Kansans. She wants the state to ban gay and trans conversion therapy and amend the Kansas Act Against Discrimination to include explicit protections on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. She also wants to better fund public schools, expand Medicaid in the state and increase broadband access in rural areas, she said.

Byers said that during Pride Month, she will speak at an LGBTQ celebration in McPherson, about 60 miles north of Wichita. Many of the state's Pride events, including Wichita Pride, are held in September, when the weather cools down, she said.

To Byers, Pride "is a statement of survival, it's a statement of embracing, it's a statement of identity, and it's a statement of acceptance."

She hopes her position in office will help pave the way for future acceptance of more trans women of color in Kansas politics.

"Part of what I realize that my responsibility is is not just legislating for the moment but also making sure I'm opening a door and I'm holding that door open for the next trans woman of color to step into office," she said. "I may be the first trans woman of Indigenous descent, but I shouldn't be the only."

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