Tag: title IX

What Matters

“The Trump administration on Wednesday formally withdrew Obama administration guidance enabling transgender individuals to use sex-segregated facilities, including bathrooms, of their choice.”

                                                                                   -The Washington Post

If you haven’t heard the news, you can read it here- Trump Administration Rescinds Obama Rules on Transgender Bathroom Use .

This news is upsetting and disheartening. But there are a few important things you should know- National Center for Transgender Equality has created FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students

I’ve shared an important excerpt from the FAQ sheet below.

What happens now that the Title IX guidance is rolled back?

First, it’s important to remember that—with or without the guidance—transgender students are protected under Title IX. The guidance itself didn’t change the law or create protections for transgender students that weren’t there before. It just clarified how the Department of Education would be enforcing existing laws. Even though the guidance has been withdrawn, that doesn’t change the fact that under Title IX, transgender students have a right to be treated according to their gender identity, including when it comes to restroom access. And in addition to protections under Title IX, transgender students are also protected by the U.S. Constitution and, in many states, by state laws and policies protecting them in schools.

– National Center for Transgender Equality- FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students

This matters. For transgender students who attend a supportive school, this probably won’t change their school experience. For those who have been fighting to have their basic rights met, this could be a damaging blow to their battle. For all transgender children and their parents the message that Trump’s administration is sending is powerful and harmful.

It might not be telling schools to discriminate against transgender students but it is attempting to strip those students of their rights, which actually are still protected. Unfortunately there are school districts who were just waiting for this message as a green light. This message tells transgender students that they do not matter and that they do not have the same rights as anyone else, nor do they deserve them. I want you to just think for a moment what that might feel like as a child who already might feel like they don’t quite fit.  

A message from the president of their country. Yesterday I was having a discussion with my 2nd grade reading group about the power of an emperor, and in their 7 year old minds they likened it to the president.

And this is what matters most. Transgender students will hear this message and even if they have support at school, some will still be very frightened and not safe.

We are talking about kids who might be facing daily battles just getting through a school day. Even students who can navigate their school day might be feeling unsafe out in the world. If the negative message that  the Trump administration is sending gets into a child’s head and they feel that threatened, the outcome could be dire. We are talking about a fragile, defenseless population here.

Parents of transgender kids are afraid for their children. Fear and worry are a standard part of the “parenting trans kids” package. We worry about their emotional well being, physical safety, bullies both in school and out, possible future health issues due to any treatment they receive, that they have friends, if they will find love, what their future will be, what they aren’t telling us (and there is always something they aren’t telling us),  their happiness, their life…….

We worry and we fight. Some fight LOUD and OUT and PROUD. Some are quieter but just as persistent and effective. And some are floundering, just keeping their heads above water, grateful for the parents before them who are trailblazers, sometimes battling with a sword in one hand and holding onto their child, or a few fragile families or both all at the same time.

There are parents of minor transgender children who fear being reported for child abuse by “well meaning” family, friends or neighbors.  And yes, it does happen! Divorced parents worry about losing custody of their trans child to an unsupportive parent, which could be detrimental to that child. They are afraid to advocate out of fear of retribution.

And those front line folks- they stand being attacked by hurtful or ignorant (or both) people. The very public advocates risk hate mail/messages and death threats. For fighting for what is right. I wish I was exaggerating but sadly, I’m not.

We are talking about human rights. This is what matters! It’s important that people show their support. I’m inviting you to join me in spreading a message of love and support to transgender people and their families everywhere. Make sure your schools are trans-inclusive. Educate the ignorant. Keep informed. Understand what Title IX is and how it protects transgender students. Do any of these….or all of them!

Feel free to use the picture below- it is mine to share. If you are a # person, please consider using #StandWithGavin as well as the ones below. If you are unfamiliar with Gavin,  he is a transgender student whose case will be heard by the Supreme Court next month when he fights for the right to use the school bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity.

translivesmatter

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bathroom Battles

Having a six year old and a toddler in the house, we seem to find ourselves engaging in bathroom talk. A LOT.

But today, I don’t want to talk about which child is creating the smell in the family room. Instead, I want to talk about Bathroom Bills.

I remember the first time I saw Kris walk into a men’s public restroom.

My husband (his father) and I were visiting Kris at college.

I stared after Kris as he casually walked into a men’s room in the campus activity center. I entered the women’s room and stared at the shaken expression on my face in the mirror.

I will never forget the complete and utter terror I felt. What if there was someone in there that did know Kris was trans and took offense? I was worried for his safety more than any thoughts of discomfort.

Kris  is my middle child. We were told he was a girl at birth. At age 18,  Kris told us that he was actually a boy. And 2 months later,  he was using the men’s room.

 

At that time I was still trying to comprehend what being transgender meant. This was just one in a series of new things I would be encountering.

I did not realize that which bathroom my kid used would become such a major issue, even possibly illegal if he chose the bathroom matching his gender identity.

“The disturbing proliferation of anti-trans bills, including 23 that target children in schools and school sports, is part of a stunning surge of more than 175 anti-LGBT bills in 32 states this year.”

New HRC Report Reveals Unprecedented Onslaught of State Legislation Targeting Transgender Americans

Bathroom Bills. You’re hearing about them all over the place. As more awareness is being brought to the T in LGBT, the issue of which bathroom transgender people use appears to have grown legs and is running out of control. And in many cases, we aren’t talking about just any transgender people. No, we are referring to our smallest and most vulnerable population- children. The number of states trying to pass legislation that requires students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their anatomy or sex assigned at birth are on the up-rise. The scary part is that legislators are not doing their homework and educating themselves on this matter and others are following their lead.

Just this week South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed such a bill. It is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately this battle won’t end here.

“On Thursday, the South Dakota House of Representatives failed to override the governor’s veto of a “bathroom bill” which would have required public school students to use facilities based on their “chromosomes and anatomy” at birth. The override vote in favor of the bill fell some ten votes short of the required two-thirds majority, with 36 yeas, 29 nays and five members not voting.”

– Vote to Override South Dakota ‘Bathroom Bill’ Veto Narrowly Fails

If you are not transgender or don’t have a transgender child, you might not understand what the big deal is. Take a few minutes to hear from Tyler, a transgender young man, who says it better than I could.

Kris is 23 years old now and he is an adult. But if things continue the direction they seem to be heading, it is only a matter of time before he will be at risk of losing his right to use the correct bathroom. It would be a violation of his civil rights, as these current bathroom bills are a violation of students’ rights.

Fear and ignorance are often the motivation for anti-transgender bills. As we head full swing into election mode, please keep in mind that just as the people writing these bills are sometimes ignorant on LGBT matters, it is equally important that we, as voters, make informed choices to ensure that the people holding public office represent ALL people.

 

 

 

 

Township High School District 211- Bad Form

Student A is a transgender girl. She is in high school in Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois and she would like to have the same rights as any other female student in the district. If you are unfamiliar with this story, you can read a press release issued from the U.S. Department of Education here regarding the case and the district’s actions. The press release includes links to the list of the district’s violations as well as the settlement agreement.

Settlement Reached with Palatine, Ill., Township High School District 211 to Remedy Transgender Discrimination

The short of it is this-

The largest high school district in Illinois, was found to be in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

OCR finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the District is in violation of Title IX for excluding Student A from participation in and denying her the benefits of its education program, providing services to her in a different manner, subjecting her to different rules of behavior, and subjecting her to different treatment on the basis of sex.

After agreeing to a settlement on December 3rd, the school district is threatening to rescind the decision at an emergency board meeting scheduled for tomorrow, December 7th. You can read the superintendent’s statement here. Superintendent Cates interprets the settlement in a different manor than the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education.

If you are in Illinois or if you can help, the following message is being sent out by the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Facebook groups, PFLAG groups-

district 211

Ignorance

Ignorance

Ignorance. It all comes down to ignorance.

Ignorance is a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge).[1] The word ignorant is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware and is often used as an insult to describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts. Ignorance From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

IMG_0763

You can click on the picture to read the article. 

I recently had a heated discussion about this very case. If you would like to learn what is really going on here, you can read any number of articles, including clicking on the one linked to the screenshot above. Although some articles contain mistakes, such as the use of the non-word “transgendered” or the use of “transgender” as a noun, there is a general commonality that runs through the articles. It’s pretty simple. This girl’s rights are being violated under Title IX.

Palatine Township High School District 211 has 30 days to comply or possibly lose $6 million in school funding. All over a transgender girl having the right to use the girls’ locker room. They have admitted to putting privacy curtains up around an unused area of the locker room. They have also admitted to giving this girl NO options- only the directive that she will use the curtained area. Somehow they fail to see the error in their actions. They might as well hang up a sign.

segregationSource: Wikipedia- Racial Segregation

If you want to open up a can of worms, bring this topic up with a group of uninformed people. These are not uneducated people. Their degrees pile up so high it’s easy to get intimidated just pondering all that knowledge in one place. The same people can probably recite Title IX from memory. They even appear to understand that gender identity is part of this. They seem very rational and polite and reasonable.

Then you read the comments. And you know.

Ignorance. Some are the uninformed ignorant. But there appear to be many more in the other ignorant camp- the ones who deliberately ignore the information.

Or better yet, you find yourself, as I did recently, sitting across the table from one of these people. And the words coming from this person’s mouth could have been written by any of those ignorant people commenting on the article above. Wait, I’m pretty sure that what he is saying HAS been said in the comments time and time again in every possible way.

“Here you’ve got this kid, this guy, who says he’s a girl when all he really wants is to get into the girls’ locker room.”

“He’s a teenage boy with male anatomy. If I had a teenage daughter, I wouldn’t want her in a locker room with that.”

“What possible reason could he have for wanting to be in the girls’ locker room or bathroom?”

“He should be using the locker room that matches his anatomy, which is male.”

“Out of the blue this guy just decides he wants to be a girl?”

“He hasn’t had surgery or anything so he’s still a guy.”

“He’s not really a girl.”

“He”        “Guy”         “Him”

Yes, these are all things this person sitting across from me said. His intent is crystal clear. He would not want this person, obviously some kind of sexual deviant, who devised this sinister plot to pose as a girl to gain access to the girls’ locker room to get his rocks off while staring at teenage girls changing and exposing his genitals to them. 

Dare I mention that I’ve known this person for 10 years. That he knows about Kris. That the more I try to explain, educate, inform, the more agitated, uneasy and LOUDER he gets. I point out that he does not know the circumstances of this girl’s life, when she came out, how far into transition she is…..nothing. I tell him that surgery does not define gender. That genitals do not define gender. That sex assigned at birth does not define gender. I inform him that if we are going to be checking genitals at the door, if our fear is that our daughters are going to be sexually exploited by this girl, then we need to check sexual orientation too because aren’t our girls more in danger of being exploited by someone who is attracted to girls than someone who simply identifies as one? But wait, I continue, we can’t do that because aren’t we violating their rights if we do that?

It begins to get difficult to tell who is more frustrated by this conversation- him or me. (But, in case you didn’t already guess, it’s me.)

At one point I want to pull out the big guns- my MOM card and slam it on the table that separates us. I want to remind him of my transgender child, knowing damn well that he’s aware of Kris. I want to ask him what he would say if this was MY CHILD we were talking about. HIS child we were talking about.

I’m poised and ready. I actually take a deep breath……

And then something catches my eye behind him. It’s a dad taking his young child into the Play Place area, which is through the door directly behind our table. And it hits me.

This uninformed, ignorant person and I are practically screaming at each other in the middle of a freaking McDonalds!

Seriously!

He thinks he is right.

I KNOW I am.

I have the law to back me.

All he has is ignorance.