LGBTQ activist organization GLSEN’s transgender 2020 Educator of the Year is looking forward to a Biden administration that “focuses heavily on tolerance, civility, and what it means to be a citizen.”
“Besides taking away Betsy DeVos and everything she’s done, they need to come out with a campaign to change the national attitude and behavior,” Tray Robinson told LGBTQ Nation in an interview published Thursday.
The San Jose, California, transgender high school teacher said a Biden/Harris administration needs to “come out hard with a ‘what does it mean to be an American’ character campaign.”
Robinson said all students, especially LGBTQ and other “marginalized students,” as LGBTQ Nation refers to them, must be reminded that the purpose of government is to protect them.
“We left a vulnerable population and we made them more vulnerable,” Robinson said about the Trump administration, “and they’re trapped in school watching every day on the news as more and more and more of their personal civil rights were stripped away.”
Current education secretary Betsy DeVos, the teacher said, “waged war” on LGBTQ students.
“School bullying is insane. It is literally insane,” Robinson said, apparently criticizing Trump for being concerned about Americans’ “beliefs.”
“We have to do better than that, but the Trump Administration in schools made all kinds of bullying okay,” the transgender teacher said. “It wasn’t just LGBTQ. It was bullying special needs people, it was bullying minorities.”
Aaron Ridings, GLSEN director of public policy, said in a statement in the same article the Trump administration amounted to “four years of attacks” on the “civil rights” of LGBTQ students and teachers.
Robinson added, “we are still responsible for helping ensure your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness.”
“I think more than anything, people want to know the government is going to go back to governing and stop bullying,” the teacher said, continuing that LGBTQ students have been suffering, “stuck in homes through the pandemic where they are unable to be themselves”:
There are kids who relied on their GSA [Gay-Straight Alliance] and their GSA advisors for input, mentorship, ideas, for homework help…When you isolate a teenager who cannot see into the future for more than the next thirty seconds and they’re consistently kept under a heavy load of stress, and they’re constantly wondering if things are going to be okay for them as we make wild policy changes to basically their civil liberties and their lifestyles, we’re also not addressing their mental health needs. Nobody’s asking those kids if they’re okay — and they’re not.
“I really am hoping that Biden and Harris are able to transition smoothly and make some changes for education going forward that really don’t take us back to the status quo we had before,” Robinson said. “Everybody wants things to get back to normal, but normal wasn’t good for us either. I want things to come back and be correct, not normal.”