AVP Action Brief: White House Signals Lack of Support for Transgender Students; Trump’s Immigration Rules and Enforcement Hurt Survivors of Violence

The AVP Action Brief tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

White House Signals Lack of Support for Transgender Students

The Trump administration is poised to overturn federal guidance that protects transgender students in schools. Title IX is a federal law that states that no person can be discriminated against on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. Guidance issued under the Obama administration clarified for educators that Title IX’s protections include the right of transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity.  While overturning this guidance will not change the law, it sends a message that this administration does not and will not support the rights of transgender students who already face disproportionate bullying, harassment and violence in schools. All students deserve safe environments in which to learn, and we must continue to demand that school officials ensure transgender students are protected.

Trump’s Immigration Rules and Enforcement Hurt Survivors of Violence

Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security released a set of new rules for how they will carry out the Trump administration’s executive orders on immigration. Immigration officials will be expected to deport anyone convicted of any criminal offense (not just serious crimes, as was policy under the Obama administration). The rules also seek to expand the government’s ability to deny entry into the U.S. or deport people from the U.S. without giving them the right to be heard by a judge. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has been directed to hire 10,000 new immigration and customs agents, expand the number of detention facilities, and increase the use of local law enforcement to assist with deportations. These steps will likely tear apart families, deny immigrants their right to due process and result in the profiling and targeting of millions of people.

Trump’s executive orders are already having a profound and horrifying impact on many in our communities, and these new rules make it clear that things will only get worse. Two weeks ago, an undocumented transgender woman named Ms. Gonzalez who is a survivor of domestic violence was arrested by immigration officials in an El Paso, Texas courthouse where she was obtaining a protective order against her abusive partner. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), which AVP coordinates, and the Transgender Law Center issued a statement denouncing the arrest and calling for the survivor’s immediate release.

Right here in New York City many immigrant survivors of violence, documented and undocumented, who receive services from AVP have reported feeling fear and anxiety about being profiled or arrested. AVP has seen a significant increase in non English-speaking hotline callers and clients. Some clients, however are afraid to leave their homes, to appear in court, or even to access our services. As a result, AVP s continues to find ways to make our services and programs safe and accessible for all. We offer counseling sessions by phone and we continue to partner with other organizations to bring our free legal clinics to communities throughout the city.

Here’s what you can do.

  • Call the Department of Education comment line: (800) 872-5327 or switchboard: (202) 401-3000 to voice your support of protections for transgender students under Title IX.
  • Sign the Transgender Law Center’s petition for the release of Ms. Gonzalez, the undocumented transgender domestic violence survivor detained in El Paso, Texas. Show your support online using the hashtag #FreeMsGonzalez.
  • If you know someone who is an LGBTQ survivor of violence who is experiencing trauma or fear as a result of these recent government actions, please encourage them to contact AVP’s confidential 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141. You will be connected with a counselor who understands the ways this political climate is affecting our communities.
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.


Further reading:

New York Times: New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions
Mother Jones: Jeff Sessions Is in Charge of Enforcing the Violence Against Women Act, and Victims’ Advocates Are Worried
NBC: Spicer: Expect New Transgender Student Policy Wednesday
Via NBC: Draft Bathroom Guidance Letter