Public Justice to Participate in Twitter Chat Supporting Trans and Nonbinary Youth

Public Justice to Participate in Twitter Chat Supporting Trans and Nonbinary Youth

It’s Pride Month and Rainbow Flags are visible everywhere. But 2021 is officially the worst year in recent history for anti-LGBTQ legislative attacks with more than 250 bills introduced or passed in statehouses around the country, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In the ongoing backlash against marriage equality, many of the bills target transgender and nonbinary youth from participating in sports or receiving gender-affirming medical care.

The San Francisco-based Equal Rights Advocates – which fights for gender justice for all – has organized a Twitter- oriented Pride Week of Action from June 14-18 (@equalrightsadv). To sign up, go to: bit.ly/prideweekofaction

The week kicks off with a Twitter chat on Monday afternoon to support trans and nonbinary youth. ERA has invited Public Justice – as well as Center for American Progress LGBTQ (@LGBTQprogress), Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR – @lgbtq_economics), LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project (@lgbtmap) and The New York Women’s Foundation (@NYWomensFdn), among others, to participate.

The Twitter chat starts at 3ET 12PT on ERA’s Twitter page (@equalrightsad). After introductions, the ERA moderator will pose questions every 5 minutes, to which the participating organizations and the public are urged to respond with the tags: @equalrightsadv (for retweets) and hashtags #LetKidsPlay #ProtectTransKids. 

“Public Justice is pleased to participate as a coalition member in this Twitter chat organized by Equal Rights Advocates supporting trans and nonbinary students,” says Adele Kimmel, Director of the Students’ Civil Rights Project at Public Justice.

The Twitter chat hopes to educate, as well as be an opportunity for fun, progressive networking.

For instance, last week, on June 9, Kimmel gave testimony before a hearing organized by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights which has launched a comprehensive review of Title IX regulations after changes made by former Education Sec. Betsy DeVos.

“Throughout this process, the Office for Civil Rights will be guided by our responsibility to ensure that schools are providing appropriate support for students who have experienced sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and that school procedures are fair and equitable for all parties and cognizant of the sensitive issues that are often involved,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, acting assistant secretary for civil rights and former Lambda Legal attorney in the DOE’s press release. “The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is responsible for and fully committed to enforcing Title IX’s protections to ensure equal access to education for all students regardless of sex. This includes making certain that students who have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity have their legal rights fully met.”

Kimmel concurred, testifying that the “Department should replace the Title IX regulations promulgated by former Secretary of Education DeVos with rules consistent with the text and purpose of Title IX. For decades, the Department applied consistent substantive protections to students who experience harassment based on sex, race, national origin, or disability. The DeVos rules inexplicably treat sexual harassment complaints differently from complaints concerning all other forms of prohibited discrimination.”

Among the actions the DOE should take, Kimmel said, is to “explain that sex-based harassment includes sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sex-based stalking, and harassment based on, among other things, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”

The ERA-organized coalition hopes the Twitter chat encourages the LGBTQ community and allies to take action to support young people finding and defining their own freedom of self-expression. “All young people — trans, cis, nonbinary, queer, survivor — have an equal claim to their own self-knowledge, Public Justice civil rights lawyer Adrienne Spiegel wrote in a commentary for The Advocate last April. “We believe them. We support them. We will continue to fight for them.”

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