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NASW joins groups to urge states reject legislation that discriminates against transgender youth

A dozen states considering laws that harm this vulnerable population

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers has joined six other child and family advocacy organizations to sign a letter from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) urging South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and other governors not to approve legislation that discriminates against students who are transgender.

The open letter was also signed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association.

“NASW supports all efforts to repeal laws and discriminatory practices that impede people who are transgender from expressing the gender that matches their sense of self,” NASW CEO Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW, said. “People who are transgender, although more visible in public and media, still experience severe discrimination in the workplace, housing, and in schools and are more vulnerable to hate-fueled violence.”

“This proposed legislation is especially egregious since it would harm vulnerable children,” McClain said.

Bills have been introduced in 12 states to deny transgender students access to appropriate restrooms and locker rooms and preventing them from playing on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice have already stated that such laws are discriminatory. School districts in states that adopt such laws could face loss of federal funding and lawsuits and other liabilities for violating the human rights of students who are transgender.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington D.C., is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.