Title IX Still Protects Transgender Students, Even if DeVos Won’t

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration targeted transgender students again. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education is no longer accepting or investigating complaints from transgender students who are denied access to the bathrooms and facilities that match their gender identity. Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act protects all students from discrimination based on sex, and denying transgender students access to facilities because of their gender identity is discrimination based on sex.

This announcement came almost a year to the day after the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind Obama-era guidance that clarified that Title IX protections include protections for transgender students.

So, what is Title IX and who does it protect, exactly?

As shown in our updated infographic, Title IX is part of the federal Civil Rights Act, and it ensures that students must be afforded the same dignity, protection, and opportunity under the law regardless of their race or ethnicity, national origin, religion, or sex.

More recently, in 2016 under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice explicitly stated that Title IX protections include protections for transgender students.

Yet, just days after assuming her role as President Trump’s Secretary of Education, Secretary DeVos rescinded that guidance, leaving students vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. This month’s announcement that the Department of Education won’t investigate claims filed by transgender students confirms yet again that President Trump and Secretary DeVos have endorsed the belief that transgender students are less deserving of protection than their peers.

This is particularly disturbing given the extensive bullying, violence, and discrimination faced by transgender students, as shown in MAP’s infographic. According to the 2015 National School Climate Survey, fully 75% of transgender students say they feel unsafe at school because of their gender expression, and 70% say they have avoided using school bathrooms as a result. By refusing to protect transgender students’ rights to use the bathroom – something we all have to do every day – Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration are perpetuating the bullying, violence, and unsafe environment that ultimately deny transgender students their right to an education.

Despite Secretary DeVos’ announcement, schools around the country continue to have a legal obligation to protect transgender students’ rights, including the right to use bathrooms and facilities that match their gender identity. And the courts agree.

Our infographic shows that both the Sixth and Seventh Circuits have already ruled that Title IX’s protections include transgender students. Thanks to the hard work of our friends at the Transgender Law Center and the courageous efforts of a transgender student named Ash Whitaker, the Seventh Circuit’s unanimously found that transgender students are protected not only by Title IX, but by the U.S. Constitution itself.

More cases are also working their way through courts around the country, similarly defending the rights of transgender students under Title IX and the Constitution.

The Department of Education says its mission is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.” Whether or not President Trump or Secretary DeVos choose to uphold this mission, the law still protects transgender students and their rights to equal access and education.

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Devastating: New Ad Shows Grieving Widow Turned Away by Funeral Home Because She’s a Lesbian

A grieving widow has just lost her spouse. She, her parents, and her in-laws enter a funeral home to arrange burial services. But they are turned away when the staff realize that the woman and her late spouse are lesbians.This story, inspired by a real legal case, is the center of a new ad, “Funeral Home,” produced by MAP as part of the Open to All public education campaign. Open to All is a nationwide public engagement campaign to build understanding and discussion about the importance of our nation’s nondiscrimination laws—and the bedrock principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All.

People think discrimination like this couldn’t happen, but it does and it did.

“Funeral Home” is the latest in a series of ads that illustrate how a loss in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case would open the door to wide-ranging forms of discrimination. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against, and refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. A decision is expected by June. A ruling for the bakery in this case could sanction and encourage this type of discrimination not just against LGBT people, but also interfaith couples, people of color, women, people with disabilities, and others.

The ad launch received considerable media attention, helping MAP reach a wider audience. Check out some of the top media hits:

Salon Exclusive: ‘Beyond wedding cakes to funerals: The high stakes of Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case’

Today, Salon published an in-depth exclusive examining the high stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission involves a Colorado bakery that discriminated against, and refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. A decision is expected by June.

The article begins with asking a tough question: Can a pivotal Supreme Court ruling lead to “heterosexuals only” signs in front of businesses?

The story was spurred by the release of a new, hard-hitting ad produced by MAP called Funeral Home, which depicts a grieving widow who has just lost her spouse. She, her parents, and her in-laws enter a funeral home to arrange burial services. But they are turned away when the staff realize that the woman and her late spouse are lesbians.

The ad was produced as part of the Open to All public education campaign. This story, inspired by a real legal case, demonstrates how a loss in Masterpiece would open the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination—including what the grieving widow in the ad faced.

Read more about the new ad in the Salon exclusive ‘Beyond wedding cakes to funerals: The high stakes of Masterpiece Cakeshop SCOTUS case’.

New Partnership Between MAP and Trulia

If you’re part of the LGBT community and looking for a house or apartment, how do you know if the neighborhood you’re interested in protects you from discrimination?

Today, the Movement Advancement Project partnered with Trulia, an online real estate and rental listing service, to release an innovative, first-of-its-kind tool to answer exactly that question. This dynamic tool shows the level of state and local protections for LGBT people in different areas and neighborhoods, to help home-buyers and apartment-hunters make more informed decisions about where to live, given that legal protections for LGBT people vary widely from state to state and even city to city.

The new Local Level Protections feature from Trulia and MAP informs home buyers about whether a neighborhood offers nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment and public accommodations discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This feature is powered by MAP’s LGBT Equality Maps, which track federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws, among many other LGBT-related policies. MAP provided the data essential to building this new feature, including a database of more than 300 local city and county ordinances that prohibit discrimination.

Our MAP-Trulia collaboration and the Local Level Protections feature has received widespread media coverage, illustrating the value and innovation of this tool. These are just a few examples of our coverage already:

Choosing a home is one of the most significant decisions in people’s lives. For LGBT people, a primary consideration isn’t just the house, but whether they will be moving to a neighborhood where they are protected against discrimination. This groundbreaking feature will help LGBT people look not only for the right home, but also the right community.

For a more comprehensive look at nondiscrimination and other legal protections across the country, visit MAP’s LGBT Equality Maps.

Click here to donate to MAP to ensure we can continue to provide the most accurate, up-to-date tracking of LGBT laws and policies!

NEW AD: “Movie Theater”

Today, MAP released a new ad “Movie Theater,” showing the all-too-common experience of transgender people around the country, who can face daily discrimination, harassment, and denial of equal treatment in public places.

This ad accompanies MAP’s latest report, LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws, which provides a comprehensive overview of the gaps in nondiscrimination laws for LGBT people in public spaces—and the devastating impact of the lack of protections.

The report highlights that discrimination is pervasive. In fact, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 31% of transgender respondents reported experiencing discrimination in places of public accommodations in the past year alone when staff knew or thought they were transgender.

As the Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, public places have become the next battleground in the fight for full equality for LGBT people. The core issue is whether public accommodations—places of business, public transit, hotels, restaurants, taxi cabs and more—can refuse service to people just because of who they are or whom they love.

As a nation, we decided a long time ago that businesses and services that are open to the public should be open to all. Nobody should be turned away simply because of who they are.

USA Today Exclusive: ‘Not just about a cake shop’: LGBT people battle bias in everyday routines

 

This week, USA Today published an exclusive feature about the impacts of the everyday experiences of discrimination faced by LGBT people. To tell this story, USA Today turned to MAP’s latest report, a policy spotlight on nondiscrimination protections in public accommodations around the country. The article also features a new ad entitled Movie Theater, showing how transgender people in particular face discrimination and harassment in public accommodations.

MAP’s mission is to help speed equality for LGBT people by reaching broad audiences with powerful messaging, policy research, and public education videos. The visibility of MAP’s work in a major news outlet like USA Today, which has a daily readership of nearly 3.3 million people, helps us spread the message that LGBT people continue to face discrimination today, and that nondiscrimination protections need to be enacted nationwide. Businesses that are open to the public should be open to all.

Click here to read the story from USA Today

New Graphics: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws

MAP’s latest report shows how a lack of nondiscrimination protections in public accommodations puts LGBT people at risk in their everyday lives. At least 25% of LGBT people experience discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations. As a result, many LGBT people are forced to change their daily lives just to get through the day without harassment or fear.

As part of the LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws, MAP launched a series of free, shareable infographics.

New Report: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws

Yesterday, the Movement Advancement Project, along with our partners at the Equality Federation Institute, Freedom for All Americans, and the National Center for Transgender Equality launched a new report, LGBT Policy Spotlight: Public Accommodations Nondiscrimination Laws. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the gaps in nondiscrimination laws for LGBT people in public spaces—and the devastating impact of the lack of protections.

Among key findings in this report:

  • Anti-LGBT discrimination remains widespread. In 2016, at least one in four LGBT people experienced discrimination in public accommodations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2015, nearly one-third of transgender people experienced discrimination in places of public accommodations when staff knew or thought they were transgender.
  • The existing patchwork of protections leaves LGBT people vulnerable to discrimination. Currently, no federal law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Only nineteen states and Washington D.C. have laws protecting people from discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex, leaving LGBT people in 31 states at risk for legal discrimination.
  • Opponents have launched coordinated attacks on the ability of LGBT people to participate fully in public life. The report details four distinct strategies: bathroom bans that would limit transgender people’s access to restrooms; ballot measures to repeal nondiscrimination protections; state preemption of cities and counties prohibiting them from enacting local ordinances; and, creating religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws. These efforts are part of a larger attempt to create a license to discriminate.
  • There is broad public and business support for nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. In a 2017 PRRI poll, 72% of Americans said they support laws that protect LGBT from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. A 2017 Small Business Majority poll similarly found that 65% of business owners agree that businesses should not be allowed to deny service to LGBT people because of religious beliefs.

This report has already garnered significant attention in the media, showing the resonance and importance of these findings:

As the Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, public places have become the next battleground in the fight for full equality for LGBT people. The core issue is whether public accommodations—places of business, public transit, hotels, restaurants, taxi cabs and more—can refuse service to people just because of who they are or whom they love.

As a nation, we decided a long time ago that businesses and services that are open to the public should be open to all. Nobody should be turned away simply because of who they are.

Help MAP spread the word about the critical need for nondiscrimination protections in public places for LGBT people. Donate here, or take action on social media!

2017 National Movement Report

2017 National Movement Report

In December, 2017 MAP released the 2017 National Movement Report, which provides a comprehensive and standardized look at LGBT movement’s finances across 39 major LGBT organizations.

Revenue is up slightly and donations are increasing, perhaps as donors seek opportunities to respond to the new political climate. The report also finds that, at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, the participating organizations overall remain stable, efficient, and supported by a diverse range of revenue sources.

Check out the great media coverage:

 

INFOGRAPHICS: Transgender Youth & School Facilities

Did you know there are an estimated 150,000 transgender youth between the ages of 13 and 17 in America? GLSEN’s 2015 National School Climate Survey found that 75% of transgender students felt unsafe at school because of their gender expression, 50% report being unable to use the name or pronoun that matches their identity and 70% report avoiding bathrooms. Excluding transgender students is humiliating and discriminatory and adds to the bullying and mistreatment that far too many transgender students already face.

MAP’s report, released in partnership with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Education Association (NEA) in May 2017, shows how excluding transgender students from school facilities that match their gender is not only unnecessary, but profoundly harmful. As the report shows, this argument is not just about bathrooms, but it is about whether or not transgender students will be included in our public education system. Put simply, if transgender students cannot safely access a bathroom, they cannot safely attend school.

Read more in the report, Separation and Stigma: Transgender Youth & School Facilities, as well as in our guide Talking About Transgender Students & School Facilities.