Next week, thousands of parents, educators, and allies across the nation will stand in solidarity with transgender students by hosting school and community readings of I Am Jazz, a children’s book by transgender teen trailblazer Jazz Jennings. Following a year of unprecedented attacks on the rights and dignity of transgender young people — including the Trump Administration’s rescission of protective school guidance for transgender students — the day of readings are intended to foster safe and welcoming schools and communities for young people.
The second annual National I Am Jazz School and Community Readings effort will take place on Thursday, May 18, in scores of cities and towns. The nationwide action is sponsored by the Welcoming Schools Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, and the National Educational Association (NEA), the country’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million educators across the United States.
Over the past year, transgender people have faced significant attacks by extremist state legislators and, recently, by the federal government. In 2016, North Carolina passed the discriminatory HB2 legislation that, among its provisions, restricted the rights of transgender people to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity in public buildings, including schools. And in 2017, just weeks after taking office, President Donald Trump rescinded lifesaving guidance issued the previous year by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education ensuring that transgender students would be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.