The men and women who run Michigan’s schools approved guidelines aimed at creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.
Michigan’s State Board of Education voted 6-2 Wednesday in favor of the guidance after receiving additional public comments. Although the guidelines are voluntary, they have sparked criticism from conservative lawmakers and parents, particularly over the policies that direct how schools should accommodate transgender students in bathrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities and sports teams.
The proposed recommendations suggest school leaders make good faith efforts to address students by their chosen name and pronouns. The guidance also urges schools to let transgender students use those bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Equality Michigan issued a statement following the vote:
“Today, we won an important victory for LGBTQ students and school safety. The State Board of Education voted 6-2 to adopt a guidance on how Michigan schools can create safe learning environments for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This guidance is the result of months of hard work by pro-equality advocates and organizations from across Michigan working together and speaking with one voice. It’s one more example of what our community can accomplish when we stand united in support of full equality.
“At a time when far too many politicians are trying to score political points at the expense of the LGBTQ community, Equality Michigan commends the State Board, particularly President John Austin, for their unwavering support of this important guidance. When our opponents tried to threaten and intimidate these pro-equality public officials, they stood strong. The importance of their commitment cannot be overstated. As far too many of you are all too aware, anti-LGBTQ bullying, harassment, and violence are pervasive in our schools.”