20 States Sue to End Protections for LGBTQ Youth: Our Statement

This week, 20 states announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration seeking to end certain protections for LGBTQ people. These states want to bring to an end provisions that allow transgender youth to participate in school with dignity and in safety, including:

  • The right to be called by their correct pronouns
  • The right to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender
  • The right to play on the sports team that matches their gender.

The attorneys general of these 20 states are asking the court to declare that the Biden Administration can’t force states to follow those requirements. The Supreme Court has already ruled that someone can’t be fired or expelled for their gender identity – but these states insist they should be able to push them out of workplaces and education spaces with hostility and humiliation instead. They’re wasting resources on this lawsuit that could be used to ensure every student has a safe learning environment.

And Advocates for Youth is forced to wonder:  Why?

Why would governors ignore the statistics on threats to transgender young people’s mental health, physical health, and educational needs?  Why would these states instead double down on transphobia? Why this unflagging commitment to harming some of our most vulnerable young people?

The first priority of education should be to put young people’s needs first – and that includes transgender young people. Why have these states chosen to abandon that mission? What reason could be more compelling than our need to protect young people’s safety?

The Department of Education created its guidance because they know that poor school environments actively harm young transgender people.  In fact, gender expansive students are three times as likely to miss school as other students. They are at higher risk for mental health issues and suicidal behavior. That’s a problem we should all be working every day to resolve, not worsen. 

Across the country, no matter where they live, our LGBTQ young people have the right to be safe, affirmed, and celebrated for who they are. We strongly urge these governors and attorneys general to get their heads on straight, drop the lawsuit, and start working to ensure their schools serve students, not their own ideology.