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Washington, D.C., June 10, 2016 – In response to the Obama administration’s May 13 guidance, directing public schools to ensure transgender students can access facilities that align with their gender identity and expression, over 30 faith groups sent this letter commending this important step for equality and inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming people:
June 9, 2016
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
On behalf of our organizations, representing a diverse group of faith traditions and beliefs, we commend your administration’s recent guidance to schools across the nation to ensure that transgender students are treated with dignity, respect, and consistent with the requirements of federal law. Your administration’s leadership on this issue is crucial in ending the discrimination transgender people, especially youth, face daily.
Many of our sacred texts remind us that the spark of the Divine is present in every human being. We learn from this teaching that all people must be treated equally, with dignity and respect.
Students deserve an educational experience that is inclusive and embracing. Unfortunately, in far too many communities, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are significantly more likely to experience discrimination, harassment and even physical violence. This may occur in the context of access to, for example, restrooms, educational programs and activities consistent with their gender identity. This is sadly even more true in the wake of the passage of harmful and discriminatory legislation in certain states, especially those that perpetuate false narratives about bathroom safety. Your administration’s support of transgender people, including the thorough guidance on emerging practices for schools, provides meaningful and tangible steps towards full inclusion and equality for transgender people in the United States.
We thank you for your leadership and commitment to upholding our American values of equality and justice for all. And, we remain dedicated to ensuring that transgender individuals, as well as lesbian, gay and bisexual people, are treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of life.
African American Ministers in Action Equal Justice Taskforce
American Jewish Committee (AJC)
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Chicago Sinai Congregation
Congregation Netivot Shalom
Global Justice Institute
Habonim Dror North America
Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New Haven
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Land of the Sky United Church of Christ
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Moishe Kavod House
National Council of Jewish Women
North American Federation of Temple Youth
Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Secular Policy Institute
The Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies
The First Congregational Church of Auburn, UCC
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Women of Reform Judaism
CC: Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch
Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Democratic Leader Harry Reid
House Speaker Paul Ryan
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Governors of all 50 states
Lt. Governors of all 50 states
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.