Senator Brad Hoylman, D–Manhattan, is taking action against the Trump Administration’s recent rollback of transgender protection laws. The senator has introduced a new bill on March 3 that would protect New York’s transgender youth by codifying certain protections under state law.
Hoylman’s bill (S.4843) would permanently adopt the Title IX guidance and protections issued by the Obama administration on May 13, 2016 that stated schools must adopt policies to sufficiently protect students from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or expression.
Most notably, President Obama’s guidance allowed transgender students to use whichever school bathrooms they felt most comfortable in, based on their gender identity. President Trump on February 22 directed the federal Education and Justice Departments to reverse those guidelines without further clarification.
“Donald Trump’s cruel and inhumane decision to undermine Title IX protections for transgender children calls for swift action by New York to clarify and codify state law to ensure these kids feel safe in school,” Hoylman said.
As Trump weakens federal protections for transgender students, Hoylman and others see a need to strengthen protections here in New York. The Hoylman bill, currently in the Senate Education Committee, would amend and strengthen New York’s Dignity for All Students Act, which mandates that public schools in New York state create safe environments free from bullying, discrimination and harassment.
New York’s Dignity for All Students Act was signed into law in 2010 and first implemented in 2012. DASA seeks to prevent discrimination on the basis of a student’s gender identity or expression, among other characteristics including race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation or sex.
“My legislation will strengthen the Dignity for All Students Act in the face of this unprecedented attack by the federal government on Title IX protections for transgender kids and ensure New York public schools remain a safe place to learn,” Hoylman said.
Specifically, the legislation would require school districts across New York to:
• Treat students consistent with their gender identity or expression, without requiring documentation or medical treatment as a prerequisite,
• Allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities or access sex-segregated facilities consistent with the gender identity or expression, and
• Protect students’ privacy related to their transgender or gender non-conforming status.
According to the text of the Hoylman bill, 46 percent of New York’s transgender students have been prevented by their schools from using their preferred name or pronoun, and 66 percent had been required to use a bathroom or locker room of their sex assigned at birth.
“Studies show that trans children are at a higher risk for bullying and suicide attempts,” Hoylman said. “The state Legislature needs to send a strong message to transgender kids and their families that we value them and New York will protect these children from harassment.”
As of press time, there is no Assembly companion bill and there are no co-sponsors for the Senate bill. If passed and signed, the law would take effect immediately.
“Donald Trump’s cruel and inhumane decision to undermine Title IX protections for transgender children calls for swift action by New York to clarify and codify state law to ensure these kids feel safe in school.”
— Sen. Brad Hoylman