AFT Resolution

SUPPORT OF THE RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER PERSONS—AFT STANDS IN UNITY AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN NORTH CAROLINA AND MISSISSIPPI

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has embraced inclusiveness of all groups from the time of its founding 100 years ago; and

WHEREAS, the AFT has defended the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers and students through its resolution process; and

WHEREAS, North Carolina passed and signed into law a measure (H.B. 2) that blocks legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, particularly bathroom access for transgender individuals, and violates civil rights law; and

WHEREAS, Mississippi has passed a measure (H.B. 1523), which allows people with religious objections to deny certain services to gay couples; and

WHEREAS, the Marion County, Fla., school board recently passed what has been called a "gender inspection" policy that prohibits transgender students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity; and

WHEREAS, an investigation of 12 states and 17 school districts with protections for LGBT people found no increase in incidences of harassment or inappropriate behavior after those protections were enacted; and

WHEREAS, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued guidance on May 13, 2016, to facilities receiving federal funds for education activities that the provisions of Title IX prohibit discrimination in the use of bathroom or locker room facilities based on gender identity that differs from gender assigned at birth; and

WHEREAS, these restrictive and punitive measures make already vulnerable students even less secure, which has been shown to lead to students missing classes, underperforming academically and dropping out of school, as well as prone to homelessness; and

WHEREAS, according to the 2011 National LGBTQ Task Force Study, over half of transgender and gender-nonconforming people who were bullied, harassed or assaulted in school because of their gender identity have attempted suicide, a rate more than 25 times the national average; and

WHEREAS, North Carolina recently passed, and the governor signed into law, H.B.2/S.L. 2016-3 Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act; and

WHEREAS, Mississippi recently passed, and the governor signed into law, H.B. 1523, inclusive of the language that allows people to deny services or goods for the “celebration or recognition of any marriage, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction”; and

WHEREAS, these laws purposely discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender individuals; and

WHEREAS, the state’s anti-discrimination law is a right that has been upheld in court since 1985 and has provided important legal protections and remedies for workers who are wrongly fired because of race, gender or religion; and

WHEREAS, the AFT stands unequivocally for the equality of all:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers insist that schools support the right of all students to safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environments, free of bullying and harassment, including transgender and gender non-conforming students, and celebrate the diversity of all students; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT insist that school districts develop and enforce anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies, including protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming students and staff to ensure their safety and recognition of their rights; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT press states to adopt measures that ensure transgender people full participation in society, including the right to use facilities in accordance with their gender identities, creating a state that is a safe and welcoming place where communities can recognize the talents and skills of all their residents, regardless of gender identity or expression; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will not host any conventions, conferences or major union gatherings in North Carolina or Mississippi until such laws are repealed; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will create an informational campaign to include steps members can take in opposition of the aforementioned laws; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will actively support, collaborate with and encourage movements and community mobilizations like the Forward Together Moral Movement, led by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II in North Carolina—which fights for social justice and affirms equal rights among all persons—and any elected official proud to stand with us.

(2017)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.