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APS Policy Retains Transgender Students’ Rights

Wikimedia Commons via CC

President Trump eliminated protections for transgender students that allow them to use the bathroom of their choice on Wednesday. In New Mexico’s largest school district, those rights are preserved. 

Albuquerque Public Schools policy respects the rights of transgender students to have access to the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. It’s been in place since May, in large part because the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico fought for it.

Adrien Lawyer, the executive director of the center, said he’s worried about students in the rest of the state. "What we hear from trans students is that they try not to drink water so that they don’t have to navigate the bathroom," he said. "So that becomes a really serious health disparity for these young people, and of course, obviously an enormous distraction from being able to learn."

The APS policy also covers gender expression and dress codes, using a student’s preferred name and pronoun, discrimination and bullying, and more. Santa Fe Public Schools has a similar policy supporting transgender student rights. But with the federal protections removed, policies all over the state—and country—will be spotty. "We’ve known a lot of young folks who didn’t graduate and did leave school early just because of the lack of safety that they felt in the school environment," Lawyer said.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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