Statement from AERA President Shaun R. Harper and Executive Director Felice J. Levine in Support of Transgender and Non-Binary Persons

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2021

Tony Pals,
(202) 238-3235

Tong Wu,
(202) 238-3233

Statement from AERA President Shaun R. Harper and Executive Director Felice J. Levine in Support of Transgender and Non-Binary Persons

April 6, 2021

Thousands of scholars will gather this week for the American Educational Research Association’s 2021 Annual Meeting. Accepting Educational Responsibility is the theme of this year’s convening of more than 12,000 education researchers. On the eve of our first-ever virtual conference, we call for AERA members and all others who work in education to accept responsibility for transphobic attitudes, cultures, practices, and policies that threaten and inflict harm on transgender and non-binary students and educators. Our efforts should include, but not be limited to schools, colleges, and universities. We also must use what we know to eradicate transphobia in our larger society.

Many states are presently considering laws that would be educationally harmful and otherwise devastating to transgender citizens in and out of schools. At this point, more than 17,000 educators and researchers, including some AERA members, have signed onto a letter calling for the Biden Administration to oppose transphobic laws. We join this effort by asking our 25,000 members to leverage their research, platforms, and networks in pursuit of justice for transgender and non-binary persons. We also urge education researchers to connect with each other, as well as with scholars in other academic fields and communities outside of academia, in support of trans lives. Given the guaranteed consequences of pending anti-trans bills across states, decisive action is urgently needed to confront the educational, psychological, and physical violence that trans communities will surely endure if existing transphobic public policies are upheld and new ones are passed.

We have an immediate responsibility to extend the reach of our research expertise on gender, trans people’s experiences and outcomes, public policy, and related topics beyond conference papers, scholarly symposia, and academic journals. Research organizations like ours have the expertise and data that matter. This call for action will be amplified numerous times throughout the AERA 2021 Annual Meeting. We hope others will join us, as well, as we embrace responsibility for this and other consequential educational and social issues.


About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.