Parents of eight transgender children have asked for a meeting with Trump, Sessions and DeVos to discuss the administration's withdrawal of protections for transgender students in the nation's schools.
We are heartbroken and scared about what this means. This action exposes transgender students to harassment and discrimination in their own classrooms, places they should feel safe and able to learn.
A White House spokesman could not immediately say whether Trump had seen the letter, but he said the president has made clear that he’s open to meeting with a variety of people to improve Americans’ lives. An Education Department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The letter was signed by parents from Texas, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Maine and D.C. They are members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, and many of them have become leading voices in the effort to raise awareness about and advocate for the needs of transgender people.
They include Debi and Tom Jackson, whose daughter Avery appeared on the cover of National Geographic in January, and Ron Ford Jr. and Vanessa Ford, who have writtenabout their daughter, Ellie, in The Washington Post.
We are continuing to fight. Everyone needs to be protected in school, in their communities. Just because they rescinded the guidance … doesn’t meant that we all stop. We do not stop.
--Ron Ford, Jr
I want to sit down with Trump and DeVos and Sessions and say look, when I gave birth to my child, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have to fight for her equal rights. I just assumed she’d have them because she is a human being. Instead,I worry about the discrimination my daughter may face not only because she is transgender, but also because she is black. I want them to understand that she belongs here. My daughter is a person, she’s an American. She wants to get an education just like anybody else.
Dear President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and Secretary DeVos,
This week, you rescinded guidance that had clarified schools’ obligations to protect transgender students -- students like our children. We are heartbroken and scared about what this means for them. We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you face-to-face to discuss the impact of your decision on our children’s lives. This action exposes transgender students to harassment and discrimination in their own classrooms, places they should feel safe and able to learn. Before you made this decision, we sent a letter to you, President Trump, that has been signed by more than 1,000 parents of transgender children (read it here). We asked you not to roll back this guidance and called on your administration to fully enforce federal civil rights laws. The letter has been signed by parents in 45 states and Washington, D.C. As members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people, we ask that the federal government fully protect our children at school -- something that all families deserve. We urge you to listen to families across the country demanding basic fairness and respect for every child. Thank you for your time, and I sincerely hope you will sit down with us -- and some of our brave, wonderful children -- in the coming weeks to share our concerns about what your actions mean to hundreds of thousands of American families.
Sincerely, Amber and Adam Briggle, Texas
Amy D'Arpino, Arizona
Vanessa and JR Ford, Washington, DC
Debi and Tom Jackson, Missouri
Jeanette Jennings, Florida
Wayne and Kelly Ann Maines, Maine
DeShanna Neal, Delaware
Peter and Sarah Tchoryk, Michigan
Singer Jackie Evancho who sang the National Anthem at Trump's inauguration has also asked for a meeting with Trump along with her transgender sister Juliet.
I guess I just want to enlighten him on what my sister, what I’ve seen her go through every single day in school and people just like her.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked during his daily briefing on Thursday if President Trump had heard about Jackie's attempts to speak with him and if he would agree to speak with her and her transgender sister, to which he replied: 'I think the President would be welcome to meet with her.'
Some news organizations have taken that to mean that the meeting is on.