DETROIT – Yesterday, 14 organizations from all over Michigan representing parents, family members, and allies to the LGBTQ communities have signed an open letter to Michigan lawmakers affirming their support for the safety and well-being of all students. The letter was written in response to the recent threats of legislative backlash following the Michigan State Board of Education Statement and Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students guidance released for public comment on March 14th of this year, since extended to May 11, 2016 (http://everyvoicecountsmi.org/).
George Belvitch, President, PFLAG Plymouth Canton, “As a parent, longtime educator, and PFLAG leader, I am deeply concerned about the safety of our trans kids and the education they are getting in hostile school environments. And as a citizen, I am angry that this type of legislation would put us in clear violation of Title IX, and risk federal funding to already struggling school districts.”
In this letter, families and allies make clear their support for the LGBTQ student and opposes any legislation targeting transgender students. They note that “transgender students are already at heightened risk for violence, bullying and harassment, and these bills exacerbate those risks by creating a hostile environment in one of the places they should feel the safest and most supported. In addition, students who would be affected by these bills are among our most vulnerable to experiencing depression and engaging in self-harm, including suicide.”
“According to the 2015 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 41% of LGB students report being bullied on school property; yet MI remains one of 28 states that still does not have an enumerated anti-bullying and harassment policy to protect LGBTQ youth in schools. This saddens me,” said Terri Dinsmore, Michigan PFLAG State Coordinator. “PFLAG supports The Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students, that was introduced in response to repeated requests for assistance from Michigan educators and school districts. We will oppose any legislation that would force transgender students into situations where their safety and well-being is at risk. We need to be doing what is best for all of our children.”
Via press release