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Proposal: Editorial - Legalizing Hate

After word circulated that the Trump administration may have planned to establish a strict legal definition of gender under Title IX from a leaked memo drive found by The New York Times, the WSS editorial board unanimously voted that there exists no credible basis for the establishment of a gender definition 26-0.

The Issue

Problem Defined

The transgender community is under attack. 
Politicians within the administration have considered redefining the concept of "gender" as an unchanging identifier established at birth. They have justified their actions by saying that the scientific sex one is born into holds more value in the ideas of the law than how one may perceive their own gender.  These justifications have given politicians legal leeway into creating legislation that discriminates against the transgender and LGBTQ+ communities.The WSS editorial board unanimously voted that there exists no credible basis for the act 26-0.

*Sources: New York Times

Background
Expand all bullets
1.
The Trump Administration has already made decisions that affect transgender studentsMORE

On Feb. 18, the U.S Department of Education announced that it would no longer listen to complaints from transgender students on the national level regarding exclusion based on national identity, saying that Title IX exists to prohibit discrimination only on basis of sex. The department, meant to make schools a safe environment for students to learn and apply themselves, is allowing open discrimination with no consequences. 

2.
Transgender people have high rates of suicide, mental health issues, and harrassmentMORE

 According to a study published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics from October 2018, trans-male adolescents had the highest rate of attempted suicides, at 50.8 percent, which contrasts with that of male adolescents, at 9.8 percent. The age of adolescence ranges from 10-19 years of age. 

Furthermore, according to the statistics below, over 80% of trans students feel unsafe at schools and have experienced numerous accounts of harassment in all environments. 

There are more than 1.4 million transgender adults in the US today.

3.
The proposed legislation/redefintion would force America to move backwards in historyMORE

The national legalization of gay marriage has only been valid for three years following the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision. It has not even been half a decade before politicians are setting their sights on the LGBTQ+ community again with this policy re-defining gender. This action would be a major hit to the rights of this community in general, which could pave the way for more roll backs of LGBTQ+ rights such as making same sex-marriage invalid once again.

4.
The ability to discriminate against members of LGBTQ+ community is in effect MORE

Based on state laws, there are 31 states that allow the termination, eviction or refusal of services based on sexual orientation. Our home state of Iowa, though, does not allow any type of discrimination. Only July 1, 2007 the Iowa Civil Rights Act was expanded to protect sexual orientation and gender identity, meaning that public businesses or businesses supported by the government in Iowa, such as restaurants or hospitals, cannot refuse service based on a consumer or patient's gender identification.

5.
The proposed legislation will encourage more discriminatory policy-makingMORE

While the administration cannot immediately rollback actions such as the legalization of gay marriage, the support of this policy can encourage states that were on the fence about LGBTQ+ protections to adopt more aggressive policies by using the changing of Title IX policy as justification.

Sources
Go deeper
2.
Celebration Ideas for Students, Educators, GSAs, Schools and Colleges

Equality Forum - LGBTQ History Month (Invalid date)

https://lgbthistorymonth.com/ideas

The page gives lots of information as to what LGBTQ History Month is and celebrates LGBTQ icons. The specific article linked provides information on the first basic steps that educators, students, schools, etc. can take to make a difference in the lives of transgender and LGBTQ people. 

3.
Editorial: Legalizing Hate

Anjali Huynh, Ian Prescott, and Lucy Polyak - The West Side Story (November 14, 2018)

https://issuu.com/westsidestory/docs/2018.11.15.fullissue/48

In our news-magazine, we have written the full editorial of our opinions, with many statistics and beliefs stemming from the article. 

Authors

The West Side Story is the student news source of Iowa City West High School, consisting of a newsmagazine, a website, and a broadcast team. The authors represent the entirety of the 26 members on the editorial board. The newsmagazine has won numerous awards in the past, including a 2018 Pacemaker Award - the highest honor a high school newsmagazine can receive. 

Editorials Editor/Chisel Proposal Creator: Jenna Wang

Editorial Writers: Anjali Huynh, Ian Prescott, and Lucy Polyak

Deniz Ince: Print Editor-in-Chief

WSS Adviser: Sara Jane Whittaker

Iowa City West High School is a public high school founded in 1968 in Iowa City, Iowa. It has about 2,000 students in grades 9-12. The school employs nearly 200 teachers and staff.



Jenna Wang Wang
Editorials Editor - The West Side Story newsmagazine
Jenna Wang is the 11th Grade Editorials Editor and reporter of the West Side Story newsmagazine. She has been on staff for 2 years.

The Solution

Proposed Actions
Expand all bullets
1.
The Government should have no say in how people wish to label themselvesMORE

Whether one fits traditional gender labels or "radical gender ideology" as the transgender community was called by Roger Severino, Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, in no way affects the politicians making these decisions. Assuming that the transgender community is simply an Obama-era fad delegimatizes this community greatly. Everyone deserves equal protection under the law, regardless if others agree with their "lifestyle" or not. The Government should have no say in how people wish to identify themselves, just as the Government doesn't restrict religion. Furthermore, while the transgender and LGBTQ+ community is very large, there are also many people who suffer from daily fear and mental health issues with coming out to the general public. When no one exactly knows just how many people are suffering from the fear of being attacked like what the Trump administration is doing, it's difficult to fathom just how many this policy of the administration can very negatively affect - especially coming from the one of the highest voices in the law. 

2.
Stripping away rights of constituents should not be priority of America's lawmakersMORE

If someone identifies as a gender that does not make their sex, they should not have to be trapped in a body they are not comfortable in. This decision is just the first step in creating more laws that would require people to live by set descriptors. In this way, it would begin a process of legalizing discrimination against the transgender community. Rather, priority should be geared towards making the transgender community feel safer in their own neighborhoods and increasing awareness about the LGBTQ+ in schools and in the community. Communities have the most basic responsibility to ensure that their citizens are safe/happy and should make sure that hate crimes that the LGBTQ+ report are taken seriously by law enforcement and slowly work to legislate more inclusion rather than discrimination. The majority of states in the U.S lack fully inclusive non-discrimination policies and that should change. No LGBTQ+ person should ever have to be fired for only being themselves.

3.
Communities should increase education about the transgender and LGBTQ+ communities to everyoneMORE

Because of the lack of understanding that many Americans have about the transgender and LGBTQ+ community, it contributes to much of the discrimination and mental health issues that they face today. Without bothering to understand what these people identify as and who they are, politicians and many within the Trump administration try to cast them out and strip away the rights they have as American citizens. This in turn has given many states leeway in enforcing discrimination, contributing to many shocking statistics. If communities implement more discussion/education about what being LGBTQ+ means and make effort to host activities like festivals during Pride Month, having public library events and more, then these groups will have more visibility to the public eye. They should allocate a portion of budged money to fund these events and help support interest groups in this area. Furthermore, as more and more schools/activities bring in educational activities and course material, there should be a funded program developed to help train educators about these issues so that they can effectively educate the public about these groups of people. A unit in all Personal Development classes should focus on gender.

The more people learn about what they do not understand, the better they will accept.

Expected Results
Expand all bullets
1.
Transgender and LGBTQ+ are much more safer within their own communitiesMORE

Much of what these groups of people face - murder, suicide, mental health issues and abuse -  will decrease and communities become much safer in general. The alarming statistics compiled will decrease as well.

2.
Community members are more educated and acceptingMORE

After implementing more educational programs and activities, community members will have a much greater understanding and acceptance of these groups of people. There will be far less hatred that people can have and communities are overall much more inclusive and active. Teachers and educators will be officially trained.Iowa City Pride Parade

3.
Ultimate Goal: More and more states in the US will be fully non-discrimination orientedMORE

As education increases, more reforms will be proposed both by state legislatures and citizens, with the processes of the initiative and referendums. The proposal that we have written today can eventually have a big impact - and while it may receive lots of hate from others, we hope that further education can shed some light on the ignorance that many people have today and overall, we don't believe that communities with discrimination can be happy communities. 

Budget

While there isn't an exact dollar amount for a budget or cost/savings, we believe that schools and smaller organizations/interest groups should first start to use budged money to implement programs and small activities that slowly gain public interest, as well as budgeting some money to create training programs for educators. Soon, with enough awareness and visibility, especially as there is local media coverage, there will hopefully be change within the action of Governors and community leaders until it reaches the state legislature level. At every stage, the leaders can budget money to initiate activities/educational awareness until finally, proposals such as this one are implemented.

The Conversation

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