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Across the country and right here in Georgia, anti-LGBTQ forces are targeting school policies that protect transgender youth from discrimination.

These policies are critical for keeping transgender youth safe: According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 80 percent of transgender kids in Georgia experience discrimination. Fifty percent of transgender youth are subject to verbal harassment, and nearly a quarter experience physical violence.

But understandably, there’s some confusion over these policies. We separate fact from fiction.

Myth:

These policies are new and untested.

Fact:

Across the nation, 17 states, Washington D.C., and more than 200 cities and towns have passed non-discrimination laws protecting gender identity in public spaces, including restrooms and locker rooms. Nearly two dozen K-12 school districts and four universities, which collectively serve 1.5 million students, have implemented non-discrimination policies as modeled by some recent Education Department guidance. There has not been a single report of someone’s privacy or safety being endangered under these policies.

Myth:

They allow men to invade women's spaces, leaving young girls vulnerable to harm.

Fact:

That's not how gender identity works. Transgender boys are boys. Transgender girls are girls. They belong in the restrooms that match the gender they live everyday. It is illegal and will remain illegal for ANYONE to enter a public restroom or locker room to harass or intimidate someone else.

Myth:

They require schools to remodel their restrooms to be gender neutral or add restrooms or other sex-segregated facilities.

Fact:

These guidelines do not challenges gender-specific restrooms. All they do is provide guidance about how to integrate transgender students into the existent system in a non-discriminatory way.

Myth:

Transgender people will violate modesty norms in restrooms and locker rooms.

Fact:

Transgender people are as modest as anyone else – maybe even more so. They have every reason to avoid drawing attention to their differences, because they are disproportionately victims of violence and harassment. According to a 2009 GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) survey, 9 in 10 transgender students are verbally harassed at school due to their gender identity and more than half have been physically assaulted. Transgender students, like all students, just want to use the restroom in privacy.

Myth:

Allowing transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity gives them special privileges.

Fact:

According to GLSEN’s 2013 National School Climate Survey:

  • Nearly 60 percent of transgender students have been forced to use a restroom or locker room inconsistent with their gender identity. This is discrimination.
  • More than 63 percent of transgender students avoid using the restroom because of fears of harassment or assault. This can lead to physical health problems that hamper a student's ability to learn.
  • More than 75 percent of transgender students report feeling unsafe in school.

Transgender students should not have to avoid the restroom for fear of their safety. These guidelines are about ensuring an environment that allows transgender students to participate equally and succeed at school.

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Since Anna Lange came out as a #transgender woman, “99% of interactions have been positive,” she says. But for that other 1%—and for other #LGBT people who aren't as lucky in their jobs and communities—an LGBT-inclusive civil rights law is needed: bit.ly/2LnHK0A pic.twitter.com/SErJAqqYY4

About 2 days ago

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