ACTFL Statement in Support of the Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Nonconforming Communities

CONTACT: Howie Berman
703.894.2900 ext. 106

ACTFL is alarmed by the recent wave of proposed and, in some cases, passed state legislation targeting transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming individuals. This type of legislation is discriminatory, it is born out of hate and scapegoating, and is antithetical to the values of ACTFL and the language education profession. We unequivocally condemn these cruel pieces of legislation.

ACTFL members and language educators across the U.S. must use their positions of influence to lift up colleagues and students who have been marginalized by anti-transgender hate and ignorance. We must do more to educate ourselves and those in our professional and personal circles about the experiences of the transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming communities. And we must constantly strive to create learning environments that are equitable, inclusive, and safe from discrimination and violence.

At the same time, those of us in the language education space must accept responsibility for transphobia in this country. When we see it—in our schools, our colleges and universities, our communities—we must speak out against it. No educator or student should ever feel unsafe in their teaching and learning environment.

Because of this and in response to these dangerous attacks on the rights of transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community at-large, ACTFL will conduct a full review of current contracts with cities bound by statewide anti-trans legislation that are slated to host its Annual Convention and World Languages Expo. In May, the ACTFL Board of Directors will consider a motion to exclude any yet-to-be-contracted locations with current or pending anti-transgender legislation from future consideration to host the convention until such legislation is overturned or reconsidered.

The events of the past year have already put an unprecedented amount of stress on our language teaching and learning community—on our educators, our students, their families, friends, and many others. There has been immeasurable loss and tragedy. Instead of looking to do harm, which these bills do, we should be seeking constructive ways to support each other and advocate for a more just world.

Trans rights are human rights.