“When a man is so willing to throw other marginalized communities (like communities of color or disabled people, or refugees) under the bus, I think it’s foolish to believe that he’d spare much more thought for the LGBT community,” said junior Monica Rush, a political science major.
This man is Donald Trump, the current president of the United States.
Recently, Trump has come under fire for many reasons; whether it’s his immigration policy or his views on women or politicians, Trump is always at the top of every reputable news source.
It started with the deletion of the LGBT community on the White House’s website. Then, it went a step further when Trump announced that he would leave the decision of whether or not transgender students can use the bathrooms they’re comfortable with up to the individual states.
This decision is leaving many to question Trump, even those in the LGBT community that have long supported him, such as Caitlyn Jenner. By leaving it up to the individual states, the protection of transgender people in bathrooms is up to the discretion of each state.
“As somebody who studies the law, this wasn’t exactly a surprise to me, but it hurt nonetheless,” said Rush, who has been an advocate for the LGBT community for several years.
While the bathroom legislation affects the transgender community as a whole, the impact on students is far-reaching. Title IX was created to ensure that people of any race, gender or sexual orientation were protected and validated while going to school.
Former president Barack Obama endorsed Title IX, and his administration used it to protect transgender people.
Trump’s recent legislation leaves students more vulnerable, however.
“Without these protections in place, students have power taken away from them,” Rush said. “In addition, the limitation of the use of bathrooms for transgender students takes away access to a very basic public facility for an entire portion of the population.”
What’s Millersville going to do about this?
Millersville, as a whole, likely will not be too affected by this legislation. The administration has incorporated LGBT-friendly language in their handbook, which ensures that students are protected despite the status of their sexual preference.
Additionally, the gender neutral dorms were one of the first enacted in the area, making for a culture of inclusion. The Title IX coordinator, Bob Wood, has made sure that sexual preference and gender status were protected statuses on campus.
“Bob Wood is also a tremendous Ally and a good friend of myself and fellow Executive Board members,” Rush said. “He’s shown time and time again that he’s willing to go to bat for us, which we always appreciate. “
Despite these protections put into place, this legislation may end up making students feel uneasy anyways.
“We may have a policy protecting trans students, but that’s not necessarily going to prevent uncomfortable personal interactions that our students might just prefer to avoid on a day-to-day basis,” Rush said.
Those who are seeking resources or safe places are encouraged to visit the Allies office, said Rush. Additionally, any professor with the “Safe Zone” triangle outside of their door promotes a message of understanding and acceptance.
“Coming to school should not be a scary experience, it should be an enriching and enlightening time, where we learn about ourselves and others,” Rush said. “We’re all here at Millersville University because we desire something more for our lives.”
Millersville has a few single-use bathrooms on campus, but they are not in every building. This means that those who are uncomfortable with being misgendered or harassed for going to the bathroom have to build time into their schedule to go to these single-use bathrooms.
“Even on Millersville’s campus, if trans students don’t feel comfortable in a gendered bathroom, there are only a handful of options left,” Rush said. “It’s the kind of thing that a lot of cis students- myself included- don’t have to think about every day.”
Many may wonder why this bathroom legislation is such an important thing to the LGBT community. A wrong step can mean misgendering, judgments and harassment.
“The road ahead is tough, at least for the next four years, community is the key to getting through it,” Rush said. “We must be out there, fighting for and advocating for each other, because complacency is, I think, one of the most dangerous things there is.”