Statement from Karen Dolan, IPS expert on disparate treatment of transgender youth in public schools and juvenile justice systems:

“I am sickened and saddened by the discriminatory ruling by Texas federal judge Reed O’Connor granting a temporary injunction against the implementation of the landmark guidance issued by the Obama Administration this spring. This guidance called on U.S. public schools to recognize the civil and human rights of their transgender students.

As I wrote in an earlier piece, the Obama administration got it right on transgender rights, and the discriminatory ignorance driving today’s ruling attempting to turn back progress, gets it absolutely wrong.

I have a family member who is a student that falls under the LGBTQ umbrella. She has experienced both an unwelcoming school environment and a welcoming school environment. She thrives in the latter and the school itself appears to benefit from the diversity.

For the sake of our children born with a gender identity that doesn’t exactly match the gender assigned to them at birth, a halting of the implementation of guidelines that facilitate respect for their humanity and human rights is abusive and dangerous.   A policy that forbids governmental discrimination based on gender is affirming and necessary.

Transgender people who don’t experience support and acceptance have staggering suicide attempt rates, but match the general population when support is present. And not only do the children themselves benefit from the support and acceptance, but studies show that schools which support LGBTQ students see benefits for all students in those schools.

Speak up against discrimination in your own school districts. Demand that the Obama directive to respect the dignity and human rights of transgender students is implemented. We are all better off for it.”

Karen Dolan is the director of the Criminaliztion of Race and Poverty project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Read her recent article Gender Explained: How the Obama Administration is Getting It Right on Gender Identity.

Media Contact:

Karen Dolan,, 202.234.9382 x 5228

Karen Dolan directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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