Following a meeting between transgender rights advocates and Baltimore’s Board of School Commissioners on Feb. 28, a statement pledging support for transgender students was issued to the Blade.
“Baltimore City Public Schools stands in support of the rights of LGBTQ youth and all students to an educational environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, intimidation, or bullying,” says the statement.
“The district is committed to providing safe and supportive environments for teaching and learning, where diversity is valued and all students can realize their full potential. This commitment includes continued support for and adherence to Maryland State Department of Education guidelines regarding safe spaces for transgender and gender non-conforming youth.”
The meeting took place after a march and rally by advocates in which more than 100, many carrying signs, braved a rainy night to demonstrate support for trans students on the heels of the Trump administration’s rescinding guidelines issued by the Obama administration in 2016. Those guidelines instructed schools that there would be no discrimination on the use of bathrooms and other public accommodations in the schools based on gender identity.
A coalition of several LGBT advocacy organizations planned the march to the Baltimore Board of Education headquarters and rally outside to ensure the board complies with guidance provided by the Maryland State Department of Education issued in 2015 and are not affected by the federal action.
“Baltimore City and next Maryland state can demonstrate what it means to value transgender students and be an advocate for other localities,” Ava Pipitone, executive director of The Baltimore Trans Alliance, told the Blade prior to the release of the statement. “They have said they are with us. Now is the time to follow through with action.”
In addition to demanding the affirmation of rights of trans students, the coalition insisted “that every school identifies one adult LGBT ally toward to creation of a gender and sexuality alliance at each school” as well as that GLSEN provide trans-developed and trans-led trainings.