Recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility, the Biden administration on Thursday announced a range of initiatives and resources to advance equality for transgender Americans, including students.
Included in the new initiatives are plans for expanded trainings focused on the challenges transgender and nonbinary students are confronted with and how schools can support them from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools.
To support transgender youth’s mental health, the administration also announced:
- The Department of Health and Human Services has created a new resource website for youth, parents and providers.
- The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has posted a guide confirming the positive impact of gender-affirming care, as well as a National Child Traumatic Stress Network information page for providers clarifying that such care is neither maltreatment nor malpractice.
- The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health issued a resource for parents and guardians, educators and others supporting LGBTQ youth, detailing the impact of gender-affirming care on well-being.
The Biden administration fact sheet announcing the initiatives highlights that bullying, rejection and denial of healthcare place transgender youth at increased risk of suicide and mental health challenges.
This detail recently factored into the March 22 decision of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, to veto a bill banning transgender youth from participating in school athletics. “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few,” Cox wrote of his decision to veto. “I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly.”
The veto, however, was later overturned by the state’s legislature on March 25. Iowa, Idaho, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas are among states that have recently passed similar legislation.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also recently signed a controversial “Parental Rights in Education” law referred to by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. And a February directive from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in February called for licensed professionals, teachers and nurses included, to report parents for child abuse if their children receive gender-affirming healthcare.
The fact sheet released Thursday highlights the Biden administration’s ongoing opposition to these measures, which are considered likely to run afoul of federal civil rights laws including Title IX. Earlier in March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told K-12 Dive he would not “stand by idly” amid the marginalization of LGBTQ students.