Education Department’s “Civil Rights Office” Threatens Civil Rights

Written by SK Ashby

The state of Connecticut has a law on the books that allows transgender students to participate in sports programs for the gender they identify as, but Trump's Department of Education is threatening to withhold funding from the state unless the policy is rolled back.

In a letter that should be taken as a threat to every state that has a similar policy or is considering one, the department's office of civil rights told state officials that civil rights for transgender kids don't exist.

From the Associated Press:

The office said in the 45-page letter that it may seek to withhold federal funding over the policy, which allows athletes to participate under the gender with which they identify. The policy is a violation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that guarantees equal education opportunities for women, including in athletics, the office said.

It has “denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits,” according to the letter, which is dated May 15.

Transgender girls are female, but the Department of Education says allowing them to participate in girls sports deprives "female" students their rights.

The wording of the department's letter is a declaration that transgender girls are not legitimate girls because that's the only way it makes any sense to say that granting rights to transgender females is an affront to females generally. This is the department saying they don't recognize the existence of transgender kids.

For their part, state athletic officials pushed back against the Department of Education by using their own language against them by stating that denying rights to transgender students would 'deprive high school students of opportunities.'

The complaint against the state's policy was filed by the so-called Alliance Defending Freedom; a right wing group. The group filed the complaint on behalf of a teenager who supposedly lost her rights just because others gained some, but I think it's clear what's really happening: some right wing parents are using their daughter to challenge the civil rights of other people's children just because their own daughter didn't win something.

Being transgender does not actually make you a superhuman or give you an unfair advantage and especially not at such a young age when the body is not even fully developed yet.

Kids should be given every opportunity to express and explore themselves. I can say from personal experience that they will be so much better off if they have that opportunity sooner rather than later because, unfortunately, none of us get a do-over. We only have one life to live and losing half of it as the wrong gender is an extremely heavy weight. Denying rights and opportunities to or stigmatizing transgender kids is extremely cruel and it has lifelong consequences.