Sexual Assault Survivors and Advocates Condemn the U.S. Department of Education’s Refusal to Protect the Civil Rights of Transgender Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2018

Washington D.C. – Know Your IX, a national, survivor- and youth-led project of Advocates for Youth released the following statement, after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ announcement today that the Department of Education will not investigate transgender students’ complaints regarding being banned from restrooms that align with their gender identity.

“This abhorrent decision by Secretary DeVos today has only further shown us the goal of the Trump Administration: to systematically roll back the protections and rights of transgender individuals.


Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination in education means that schools are required to address gender-based harassment and violence—whether that’s sexual assault or the bullying of a trans student—if it is so severe or pervasive that it affects a student’s ability to get their education. That’s why Title IX requires schools to let transgender students use the restrooms, locker rooms, and other gender-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity; so trans students can participate fully in all the educational opportunities their school has to offer. In fact, in May 2017, a unanimous three-judge panel for the 7th Circuit wrote in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that policies forcing students to use a bathroom that does not conform with their gender identity is a violation of Title IX.

Know Your IX believes that all young people have the right to equal education, and denying them the access to bathrooms that align with their gender identity reinforces the violent idea that going to school is only for cisgender people. Bullying forces 17% of transgender students to leave school entirely, and 12% of report being verbally harassed, physically attacked, and/or sexually assaulted when accessing or while using a restroom in the past year. Further, transgender children who are discriminated against are more likely to commit suicide.

Shame on Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration for turning their backs on the violence and discrimination trans students are facing across our country.”

For comment, or to speak with students survivors please contact info@knowyourIX.org.