Christian Group Complains After School Board Adopts Policy to Help Transgender Students

A district in my area did something really amazing earlier this week. On Monday, the East Aurora Board of Education voted — unanimously — to make things better for transgender students:

The East Aurora Board of Education

The new policy specifically states that transgendered and gender nonconforming students have the right use the restroom that corresponds to their gender-related identity that is consistently asserted at school. The student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called, too.

“A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student needs not change his or her official records,” the policy states.

“In no case shall a transgender student be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender-related identity,” the policy reads.

Many school districts have taken steps to be more inclusive of the LGBT community (like allowing students to take same-sex dates to a dance), but even the good ones often ignore the “T” in that acronym. This is a wonderful step toward making things better for all students, not just the ones who conform to the gender they were born with. (For what it’s worth, the policy is in accordance with Illinois law, so it’s not like this is some activist school board.)

Here’s the official policy that was adopted:

All persons, including students, have a right to privacy. This includes the right to keep private one’s transgender status or gender nonconforming presentation at school. Information about a student’s transgender status, legal name, or gender assigned at birth may also constitute confidential medical information. It is the District’s goal to ensure the safety, comfort, and healthy development of the transgender or gender nonconforming student while maximizing the student’s social integration and minimizing stigmatization of the student. It is the policy of the District that school personnel should not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status or gender nonconforming presentation to others, including parents and other school personnel, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure. Transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to openly discuss and express their gender-related identity and expression and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information.

Doesn’t seem like a big deal at all… so, as you might expect, the conservative Christian group Illinois Family Institute is freaking out, urging parents to pull their kids out of the public school district before, I don’t know, the transgender kids smile and ruin Jesus for everybody?

The school board is now imposing non-objective, “progressive” moral, philosophical, and political beliefs — not facts — about gender confusion on the entire school. This feckless school board has made a decision to accommodate, not the needs of gender-confused teens, but their disordered desires and the desires of gender/sexuality anarchists who exploit public education for their perverse ends.

Gender confusion affects approximately .003 percent of males and .0001 percent of females. Aurora East High School is now accommodating the disordered impulses and unproven beliefs of a statistically miniscule segment of their population and in so doing ignores the beliefs of the majority. Some would argue that this policy also reflects a gross distortion of compassion and profound ignorance about what truly helps the few students who suffer from gender dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder.

According to IFI’s Laurie Higgins, what would “help” transgender students is following the rules dictated by their genitalia, no matter how dehumanizing that is to those students.

This new policy will allow transgender and gender-nonconforming students to use the restroom or locker room that’s right for them, to join the appropriate sports team, and to be called by their teachers what they want to be called. It’s not asking for much.

But you can understand IFI’s paranoia at any policy that goes against their narrow-minded view of the world and the diversity of the people who live in it:

This is a biased, radical, and offensive school board decision that all Illinois taxpayers — especially Aurora community members with or without children in school — should vigorously and tenaciously oppose.

Or, better yet, you can send the school board members an email thanking them for doing the right thing.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • CanadianNihilist

    I am adamantly against this part:

    “A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student
    needs not change his or her official records,” the policy states.

    If you’re going to do something do it right.
    Thinking back as a horny teenager what would be in place to stop me from throwing on a wig and insist that I be called Suzie that day while I go into the girls locker room and change with them?

    I am in favor of the policy. However I think it’s a mistake that “The student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called” If they’re serious about it then they can have their name legally changed.
    Or can any student insist that their teachers call them king kick-ass from now on?

    • Bryan

      @CanadianNihilist:disqus

      I get what you mean, but I think the key part of the provision that prevents the behavior you described is “consistently asserted”:

      “…have the right use the restroom that corresponds to their
      gender-related identity that is consistently asserted at school. The
      student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be
      called, too.”
       
      I think that rules out your “throw on a wig and crash the girl’s bathroom” plot.  :)

      • CanadianNihilist

        Not if I do it every day ;)

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

          as much as horny teen guys may be willing to do “anything” i seriously doubt most of them would be willing to put up with the baiting and jeering they’d receive for the rest of their lives from other straight boys at such a stunt. peer pressure is real, yo.

          • pRinzler

            Your concern is only a hypothetical one.  It doesn’t have to be addressed if and until it becomes a real one, which it very well may not.

            • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

              I would assume there are already procedures in place at a public school for dealing with a student who is leering at or harassing other students in the locker room, since gender-segregating locker rooms doesn’t anyhow prevent such behavior…

              EDIT: Also, hey there CDB!

    • C Peterson

      In the U.S., a person can legally use any name they wish, without any official name change, so long as the intent is not to defraud. It is only necessary to get a court involved if you want your name to propagate to children, or wish to use it on certain official papers (e.g. your passport).

      Of course, a substantial minority (maybe even majority) of people routinely use something other than their legal first names, even on official documents (for example, the first name on my driver’s license doesn’t match that on my birth certificate).

    • Question Everything

      In most places, it costs some combination of money, time, and court appearances in order to get a name legally changed.  I remember to my days as a teenager, and I didn’t have much money, nor did I have the time or transport to get to court.  I can completely understand why the kids may not be able to go the full legal route.

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      Do you think that transgendered students have an easy life outside the locker room?   It would be saying a lot if you were willing to take all of the other crap that transgendered students have to deal with in order to get a sneak peek.  

      • Baal

         And while porn isn’t quite the same as RL, I can’t imagine doing the trans* for a day for a peek when there is so much more on the net.

        • amycas

           That was my first thought as well. Why go to all the trouble if you can get it for free online? Besides, it’s not like all, or even most, teenagers are voyeurs.

    • RobMcCune

      Hate to break it to you, but neither Some Like It Hot, Ski Party,
      Sorority Boys, or any of the countless ‘straight cis guy in drag’ comedies
      reflect real life. Sorry to spoil it for you.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053291/
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059726/
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279781/

    • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

      According to the website of the Illinois Vital Records Department, court-ordered gender change is only possible in Illinois after undergoing surgery. Requiring a teenager to get surgery before you will let them use the correct bathroom is fairly crazy.

      “Thinking back as a horny teenager what would be in place to stop me from throwing on a wig and insist that I be called Suzie that day… if I do it every day ;)”

      Going out into the world in drag every day and maintaining a fake gender identity that doesn’t actually describe who you are is VERY, VERY HARD. *This is why transgender teens need protections like this in the first place.*

      Almost every discussion about trans rights in our culture seems to almost immediately derail by someone forwarding the premise that a “boy” who would want to wear a dress is a probable rapist, and should be treated as such, and we must treat “men in the women’s restroom” as a great concern which preempts all else. Among the things I never see factored into this objection are the existence of transmen; any attempt to produce evidence that, where given the opportunity, cisgender dudes will just go nuts plotting schemes to get into the womens’ restroom; and questions of why– if girls are so unsafe in a bathroom around boys– we are expecting it to be safe for a young trans girl to be in the men’s restroom at a high school.

    • amycas

       “Thinking back as a horny teenager what would be in place to stop me from
      throwing on a wig and insist that I be called Suzie that day while I go
      into the girls locker room and change with them?”

      This is basically at the heart of a lot of transphobia. Please don’t perpetuate this myth.

  • http://parsleyvictorious.blogspot.com Parsley Victorious

    Message delivery failed, with the address you provided.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Link fixed!

  • http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/ Timothy Brannan

    I think you all know what to do here.
    https://www.votervoice.net/ILFI/Campaigns/29806/Respond

    • WildRumpus67

       I was going to write them all anyways to congratulate them. That was nice of the IFI to make it so convenient!

    • RobertoTheChi

      Thanks IFI! You made it a lot easier for me to send the school a message to congratulate them on their decision and tell them to ignore your hate group.

      • TC

        So, people who do not agree with your point of view are haters?  I suppose you consider yourself a tolerant person then?  Or are you simply another human being who simply have certain points of view that are different from those who belong or agree with groups like IFI?  Just an observation.

        • amycas

          It is hateful to call a teenager who is doing their best to express their accurate gender as a “sexual/gender anarchist.” It is hateful to try to put pressure on a school district to restrict the rights and protections of *some* students. They can disagree with my world view all they want, and I wouldn’t necessarily say they are hateful, but when they turn around and try to force others to follow that world view, then I call it hateful.

        • RobertoTheChi

          Yes, I do consider myself a tolerant person, but what I won’t tolerate is someone who tries to take another person/groups rights away from them.

    • Gringa

       done and done

    • Helanna

      Done. I find it mildly terrifying that they actually checked to make sure I gave them a valid address (I gave them an old one, because I’m not in the habit of giving out my personal information on the internet), but done.

      I wonder if Hemant will receive another letter about his rabble-rousing ways . . .

      • http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/ Timothy Brannan

        I give the address of a parking garage in town.  

        • amycas

           It also requires a suffix (Mr. Ms. Mrs. etc). I put Mr. just to mess with them because my name is not typically gender neutral.

      • NoDoubtAboutIt

        I gave them my real one.  I hope they waste money sending me junk mail, especially if they include one of those very nice business reply envelopes.

  • http://parsleyvictorious.blogspot.com Parsley Victorious

    “Thinking back as a horny teenager what would be in place to stop me from throwing on a wig and insist that I be called Suzie that day while I go into the girls locker room and change with them?”

    Because there’s no difference between someone as presenting as a given gender consistently for a long period of time, and ‘throwing on a wig and a dress for a day’. No one will ever figure it out!

    “Or can any student insist that their teachers call them king kick-ass from now on?”

    See my above response, almost verbatim.

    Edit: Hm, this was meant to be in reply to CanadianNihilist, below. How it would up here, I’m not sure.

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      Since it seems that we’re without the actual text of the policy it’s hard to say what would happen in this case, but there’s a difference between people being able to work out that someone is taking the piss, and being able to stop them.

      We all know the (say) Mitt Romney’s tax affairs take the piss, but that doesn’t mean the IRS can just ignore what the rules say and demand he hand over more cash. If the policy were to say without caveat that students have the right to be called whatever they want, then surely teachers wouldn’t be able to just ignore that? And if they can just ignore the policy then it does nothing to protect trans students from having their wishes ignored by teachers that don’t like the policy or simply don’t like them.

      • http://parsleyvictorious.blogspot.com Parsley Victorious

        Valid enough, but to me it just suggests that the policy needs to be well-worded. I suppose that’s also the point you’re making, but I’m not sure.

        Either way, as long as they’re aware of this, it’s relatively simple to word it appropriately to clamp down on abuses.

        • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

          “it just suggests that the policy needs to be well-worded. I suppose that’s also the point you’re making, but I’m not sure.”

          Pretty much. And given other comments, it would appear that the ‘consistently asserted’ wording is intended to cover it.

  • Scott

    the linked email address bounced on me with an error that the email account does not exist. I instead found this page, and sent emails to all of the listed accounts: http://www.d131.org/boardofed/ContactUs.asp

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Link fixed. Thanks!

  • Rover Serton

    CN: I think you missed a part.  Your horny (normal for high school) Susie has to “consistetly” dress like a girl with a wig.  Even I’m not that driven. I don’t know about canadian law but I believe here, you need to be an adult to change your name or have your guardian agree.

  • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

    ” “In no case shall a transgender student be required to use a locker room
    that conflicts with the student’s gender-related identity,” the policy reads.”

    No it doesn’t. I just read the linked PDF of the policy and it says nothing of the sort. It’s also described as a draft.

  • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

    I’m generally in support of this sort of thing, but I do wonder how this would actually work out in the locker room…

    • amycas

      It would probably work out about the same as it does for others: some will be apprehensive, some won’t care, some will be cruel. I remember my first year using a locker room was terrible. Really, I think we should get rid of the mandatory group showers and dressing/undressing in front of groups.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DocMonkey Mick Wright

    Did these fundie dimbulbs seriously just accuse transgender teens of having “unproven beliefs”?

    Wow. Hey, kettle, this pot over here says your arse is burnt.

    • Gringa

       I thought the exact same thing!

  • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

    If it’s ok for teen males and females (by sex) to use the same restrooms, locker rooms, and presumably showers when their gender identities lines up, why not when their gender identities are different?

    At any rate, sex segregation when nudity is involved is deeply ingrained in our general culture. Blaming resistance on religious hangups is oversimplifying the issue.

    • smrnda

       As a person who has a horrific fear of being nude in front of anybody, options ought to be available for people like me, but as for me, this fear would be present even if it was being nude around other cis females.

      • amycas

         I was llike this as well my first year or two of using locker rooms. This fear has mostly gone away, but I still don’t think kids should have to shower or undress in front of groups.

    • Deven Kale

      One of the major reasons for allowing this is for the Transgendered student to be able to behave in a way which is consistent with their gender identity, or in the case of a new student to that school, to not be “outed” as a transgendered student at all. It makes it much easier for trans males to be seen as male and trans females to be seen as female.

      With that in mind, it seems to me that the vast majority of them would be very well-behaved. After all, taking advantage of the situation would very likely force the school to disallow them from using their preferred restroom, and I find it hard to believe that any self-respecting trans person would really want to risk that.

      • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

        Those are all good reasons in favor of allowing students to use the rooms of their choice. I’m wondering if they’re good enough reasons to override the reasons other people have for wanting to keep males (by sex) out of private areas for women or females (by sex) out of private areas for males.

        If we take both sides seriously, the path forward would be to build in more privacy for everyone, as seen in unisex bathrooms. Why do high school showers _have_ to be group affairs? (They don’t; it’s just cheaper that way.)

        If we shrug our shoulders at trans people, then there’s the status quo of: stick to the group facilities for your sex!

        If we shrug our shoulders at sex segregation advocates, then we can accommodate trans people and save even more money by having mixed-sex shared facilities. I think we’re headed this way eventually, but — Starship Troopers aside — it’s not an idea that is really even being challenged in progressive media. The more expensive route of individual facilities everywhere might be the most realistic way forward at this time.

        • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

          Oh, and ditching sex segregation would be a Godsend (so to speak) for intersex individuals too!

        • Earl G.

          And BSG.  I found the characters’ complete comfort with mixed-sex facilities (bathrooms, showers, bunk rooms) to be one of the most refreshingly progressive parts of the show.  

  • A3Kr0n

    All I have to say is I’m a woman in a mans body and I get to use the women’s locker room? That could be pretty cool except they might question why a middle aged man was in there.

    • Sami Hawkins

      While we’re on the subject aren’t handicapped spots stupid? I mean, all someone has to do is fake a limp and they get to park right by the door!

      ^Why is it that everyone can see why that’s absurd, you have to have a doctor examine you before you can be declared handicapped, but I regularly see people nodding their head at the idea that not treating trans* people like crap means any man can just throw on a dress and walk into a women’s bathroom. Stop spreading that lie. 

      • A3Kr0n

         What lie? Lighten up already.

        • Sami Hawkins

          What lie? Lighten up already.

          “All I have to say is I’m a woman in a mans body and I get to use the women’s locker room? ”

          ^That lie. And no I will not ‘lighten up’ about you spreading an utterly untrue claim that is used against us every single damn time anti-discrimination laws/policies for trans* people are considered.

    • benanov

       Notice the “consistently asserted” language. You would have to always use the women’s facilities and do other things, such as using female pronouns.

      Most people just wanting to get a free look would be loath to do this.

  • C Peterson

    Of course, before you know it school nurses will be performing gender reassignment surgery during lunch hour… without parental consent! Oh, those slippery slopes…

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

      because a nurse is a surgeon. 

      idiot. 

      • http://twitter.com/WellYesYouMay WellYesYouMay

        Poe’s Law.

      • Queequeg

        Sarcasm, perhaps?

      • Baal

         C Peterson is feigning being a xtian doing the usual slippery slope argument.  If we tolerate the least acceptance suddenly 80%+ of kids will suddenly go trans*.  If we let couples who have been in a committed relationtship with shared financials get married, YOU will find yourself watching your children get married to their cats and dogs (maybe even poly married).  This argument is why Rick Santorum has a google problem.  The xtians love it and think the rest of us will find it compelling (which is weird in its own right, they need to show the slope is slippery for 1). 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Still don’t understand how they can whole-heartedly scream that they’re a fiercely persecuted minority one minute and then claim that they’re the majority the next. 

    These people make me wish there was a higher power sometimes…If anyone actually deserves to roast for awhile, it’s the fundies.

    • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

      Cultural Christians are the majority…when convenient.
      True Christians are the minority…when convenient.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

    Done. pass this one on to other bloggers, folks. this is a time when we need to make our voices heard, and not let the religious fanatics in this country hold back progress. thank you, Hemant. this is an important development and it’s going to require a fight. 

  • Sami Hawkins

    As someone who spent my teenage years contemplating suicide until I finally admitted to myself why I constantly dreamed of living as the opposite-sex I have quite a lot to say about people like Laurie who insist that my parents should of shamed me into living as a gender that made me miserable instead of accepting and supporting my ‘confusion’ like they did.

    None of it’s nice.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    I love the sheer incoherence of calling us gender/sexuality anarchists who want to impose rules on others.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “the desires of gender/sexuality anarchists who exploit public education for their perverse ends.”

    Damn it, now I have La Vie Boheme from Rent stuck in my head. Thank you, IFI. 

    • Baby_Raptor

      YES! Now I do too. Cookies for that thought. 

  • Savoy47

    I agree that Christian IFI parents should pull their kids out of the public school district because their kids are more than likely bigots in training.  Also the district could probably put any money saved to good use.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kate.gray.142240 Kate Gray

      That just makes it easier to help their kids grow up as bigots, too.

    • RobMcCune

      Because the best way to ensure people grow up to be tolerant is to remove outside influences that could expose them to other views.

    • Ibis3

       Should we let them faith heal their kids to death too?

  • Skogula

    There were 1,300 children killed by drunk drivers last year. There are 16,000 living below the poverty level. 27% of 12′th graders read below the “Basic” literacy level. You would think they would find something a little less frivolous to spend their efforts on.

    • Patterrssonn

      You seem to missing statistics on how many gay, trans kids committed suicide last year.

    • Deven Kale

      Most schools (at least here in Utah) host Drivers Ed classes for their students, in which they very explicitly teach the dangers of driving while drunk/stoned/high.

      Most public schools allow waivers for the majority of their programs to accommodate the poor.

      Nearly every school has remedial reading classes where students with reading difficulties can learn to read better.

      In other words, they’re already spending their efforts on these types of things. Now they’ve decided to help reduce teen suicide by allowing Transgendered students to act in accordance with their preferred gender as well as all those other things.

      Why do you have a problem with this?

      • TheKevinBates

        I think Skogula means “You would think they (the Christians who are complaining) would find something a little less frivolous to spend their efforts on.”

    • Baby_Raptor

      Yup. Allowing people basic dignity  is “frivolous.” 

      Make sure you tell yourself that next time you feel you’re being stepped on. 

      • TC

        Are Christian kids in schools allowed to pray in public, wear shirts with Christian “slogans” on them, talk to other students about Christ?  Or do most public schools or even private schools tend to shut them down?  What if we have a few kids in the school that come from families which believe in white supremacy?  Should the school deny or allow their basic “dignity” or freedom of expression?  If we make concessions for one social group so that they would or could feel more “normal”, more “safe”, and, hopefully, be more “acceptable” to the rest of the student body, should we not also make concessions to other social or religious groups of students?  Or, do we operate under a system of “selective tolerance” and choose, or more accurately, dictate that certain group’s basic dignity is above certain “other” group?  In other words, if we say yes to the transgender students, should we not also say yes to the white supremacists if or when they also ask for “special treatment” because they, too, have the right to a safe environment and that they, too, need to be seen as “normal”?  What about their basic dignity as human beings?  What about the Christians?  What about kids who might want the right to bring guns to school because  they could argue that it is protected under the Bill of Rights?  Tolerance or selective tolerance?  Whose rights are being stepped on?  Which group is being judged by whom?  Who is forcing whose idea on whom?  It seems to me that, in this case, the rights of the majority have been stepped on by the rights of the minority.  The minority has, indeed, forced their ideas on the majority.  The majority, it seems, had no say before the school district passed this rule.  The majority’s basic dignity has been seen as “frivolous” by the minority.  So, in this case, some animals are indeed more equal than others.  Love is not tolerance and tolerance will never equal love.  Both sides would have a much better conversation once we are able to figure out what is the true meaning behind “love your neighbor as yourself”.  Sorry to unleash it on you but I am sharing this for all.

        • Deven Kale

           “Are Christian kids in schools allowed to pray in public?”

          Yes, as long as they’re not disrupting a class by doing so.

          “wear shirts with Christian “slogans” on them?”

          Yes, as long as wearing the shirt doesn’t cause a major disturbance.

          “Talk to other students about Christ?”

          Yes, as long as their preaching is not causing a major disturbance.

          “What if we have a few [White supremacists] in the school … should the school deny or allow their basic
          “dignity” or freedom of expression?”

          Allow, unless they’re causing a major disturbance.

          “If we make concessions for one social group … should we not also make concessions to
          other social or religious groups of students?”

          Hard to answer that question without actual examples.

          “What about kids who might want the right to bring guns to school because
           they could argue that it is protected under the Bill of Rights?”

          Guns are weapons, and no weapons are allowed in schools. Schools are one of those places where certain rights are restricted, and the right to bear arms is one of them. If the area is so dangerous as to require a child to have some form of protection, that protection is given by the police department.

          “It seems to me that, in this case, the rights of the majority have been stepped on by the rights of the minority.”

          What right has been taken away? The right to sit in a private stall and know that the person in the next private stall over has the same genitals as you? Seems like an oddly specific (and ridiculous) right to me. How about the trans-girl’s right not to be “outed” as a trans by being forced to go into the boys room, leading to possible threat of bodily harm to her by bigots? I think that outweighs the right to know the genitals of your neighbor stall’s occupant.

          “The majority’s basic dignity has been seen as “frivolous” by the minority.”

          I don’t see anybody’s “basic dignity” being infringed by this policy, so whether their “basic dignity” is seen as frivolous doesn’t really matter.

          “Love is not tolerance and tolerance will never equal love.”

          You’re right. Love is understanding and accepting people in spite of their flaws. It’s allowing them the same right to be their true selves as you would expect for yourself. It’s not allowing them to be hurt either physically or emotionally, and protecting them from those who would do so for no good reason.

          What love is not is telling somebody that, according to this book you read that you think has a lot of good stuff in it, they’re dysfunctional subhumans who would suffer eternally if they act like the person they actually know they are in spite of how they look. That they must conform to the ideas put forward in this book or they will never know true happiness. That those desires of theirs are put into their minds by the villain of this book for the sole purpose of turning them away from the books anti-hero. That’s not love, that’s pure bigotry, plain and simple.

    • amycas

       I think this is a case of pronoun confusion. Is “they” referring to IFI or the school board?

  • Indorri

    Man, speaking of feckless.

  • Kimpatsu

    Hey, Hemant, “LBGT” is an initialism, not an acronym. You can’t pronounce it as an independent word, unlike SCUBA or SWAT.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Dammit. You win this round, Grammar Nazi… *salute*

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    “Gender confusion affects approximately .003 percent of males and .0001 percent of females.”
    Kinda curious where they got these numbers, stats on the prevalence of trangenderism in the population are hard to find :P

  • Phred

    For the most part, I agree completely with what’s been stated in this article.  But I do have one concern, regarding sports:

    On average, someone who is genetically male (XY chromosome), and who is not an “XY female” (very rare genetic disorder where an XY person has strongly female characteristics) is likely to be physically stronger and more robust than the average genetic female (XX).  Such people, regardless of their gender identity, would likely have a substantial physical advantage when competing against “true” females in athletic events, particularly those requiring strength or spatial acuity, traditionally male characteristics.

    I don’t pretend to know what the “correct” way to handle such situations would be.  While it seems unfair to deny these athletes the opportunity to compete, it also seems unfair to the other females they would be competing against.  Would they (the “true” females) resort to steroids in order to be able to compete?

    • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

      A few things.
      First off, if you look at the news article, it explains that this policy by itself does not get transgender kids onto sports teams: “In the case of competitive sports teams, the policy says district administrators should consult policies issued by the governing interscholastic athletics administrative body.”

      Second off, you should probably be aware that most of the kids who would hypothetically take advantage of this policy are on “hormone replacement therapy” drugs. These drugs, in the case of a male-to-female transsexual, would block testosterone and usually pump in estrogen, and thus would cause loss of muscle mass as well as other health complications. This would, I suspect, tend to largely or entirely cancel out any advantages from previous testosterone or chromosomal stuff. (Female-to-male transsexuals on the other hand will likely be taking testosterone, which is literally a steroid, but the health histories in this case and the fact that everyone *else* on a boy’s team will *also* have testosterone in their bodies make me again doubt this is really that much of an advantage.)

      Finally though, and most importantly, this is *high school sports*. It isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a big enough deal for us to even be caring about this. The point of high school sports it seems to me should be to support the students, and so making sure that the kids can be comfortable with themselves and able to compete on the correct team is more important than preventing that team from getting a very slight hypothetical “unfair” advantage from having a transwoman on it. Meanwhile, the kids taking advantage of this policy will be really rare– the only numbers I’ve seen are that 1 in 300 or 1 in 500 or so people is transgender, and for various reasons I do not expect most trans people would be transitioning in high school. You might have one transgender kid per school. OK, so *one* kid in the entire school has an endemic strength advantage over her peers, potentially. Is that a really big deal? Do you *actually* think, if you think about it, that someone on a girl’s high school lacrosse team is going to start taking steroids just to get a leg up on the one transgender kid in the league? You mention XY females / XX males– but these leagues likely do not have rules in place for handling such cases, despite there being slight advantages as you point out! If it is not important enough to have a rule specifically for a intersexed or XY female, then why bother with a rule to keep out transsexuals?

      • amycas

         Great job explaining this. I also like to point out that there are girls whose bodies are stronger and more muscular than other girls’. Many of the girls participating in athletics at my high school were naturally stronger than I was before they ever did any weight training. Is this to say they had an unfair advantage over me? How much of their athleticism was due to their hard work and how much was due to the way their body was built? This is why the concept of somebody having an “unfair” chemical advantage doesn’t make sense to me. People have “unfair” natural chemical advantages as well, but we don’t have any problems when they compete.

    • amycas

       Define “true females”

  • brianmacker

    My heterosexual son and one of his  friends went to his high school prom as a same sex couple because they had some anti-gay policy at Smithtown High School.   They found some loophole like buying four tickets or something.  He’s an atheist like me and I’m proud of him for this.   He likes to push the envelope.   A lot of this discrimination doesn’t hit the newspapers.

    In order to get him into the prom I had to sit through a stupid hour and a half long drug training program for parents.  I kid you not.  It was mandatory as if they believed parents don’t know that heroin was addictive.   They made the most silliest arguments from a scientific viewpoint and I was laughing for many parts. 

    They were using brain scans to show what parts light up when you are addicted and showed that even viewing drug paraphernalia (later after kicking the habit) also lights up those parts in anticipation.     Scans of normal brains shown side by side with these were not lit up like this, and explained that the scans were areas with elevated levels of dopamine.   Going on an on about dopamine like it was a bad thing in and of itself.

    He mentioned that these high dopamine levels are detected by the brain scans of people when seeing a cup of coffee ( presumably with drinkers but not non-drinker)s, but then moved on to examples of chocolate and bacon.    Which kinda watered down the whole scary aspect of claiming high dopamine was a problem.  Seems that anticipation of just about anything enjoyable lights up the brain.

    One would have thought the program would spend two minutes saying, “As everyone is aware heroin is addictive and destroys lives” then moved on to issues about signs of addiction, how to prevent your kid from having resources to get drugs, drug terms, what to do when you find out,  etc.   Nope, wasted a whole hour on the science slide show.   I left at the 60 minute mark because they weren’t telling me anything I didn’t know, and I was already marked down as attending.

    It was controlling bullshit just like their policy on gays in the prom.  

  • http://corvustristis.wordpress.com/ Corvus

    OMG. I am totally a gender/sexuality anarchist.

  • Bkmurff

    I might be simple minded, but I don’t want a teenage with male parts sharing a locker room or shower with my teenage daughter, no matter how much he feels like a female inside. I sympathize with his position, and want for the most equal treatment possible…right up to the point where it infringes on my daughter.

    • Baby_Raptor

      A male being in the female locker room does not infringe on your daughter unless he’s harassing her. Being slightly uncomfortable is not infringement. Seeing something different is not infringement. 

      And being simple-minded is not an excuse for saying “Fuck you, I have mine.” Your/your daughter’s rights aren’t more important than anyone elses’. And no, you don’t sympathize, nor do you really want equal treatment, if you’re placing people ahead of one another based on differences.

      Start screaming when something bad happens. Til then, nobody is being hurt.

    • amycas

       How do you feel about lesbians sharing a locker room or a shower with your teenage daughter?

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    I don’t really care about the name thing, but I have the same concerns as CanadianNihilist when it comes to locker rooms. The wording of this decision is too vague. Hypothetically, a horny guy could just falsely claim to identify as female. They don’t need to crossdress. They don’t need to throw on a wig. They don’t need to act feminine in any way. As long as this hypothetical guy could consistently stick to their claim of female identity, there’s nothing the school could do to stop that student from rousing through the female bathrooms and change rooms.

    I would strongly stand for the right of any truely transgender person to comfortably use the facilities they identify with. But those rules need to be worded in a way that can’t be taken advantage of by creepers.

  • Greg1466

    “Aurora East High School is now accommodating the disordered impulses and
    unproven beliefs of a statistically miniscule segment of their
    population and in so doing ignores the beliefs of the majority.”

    Right.  They should only accommodate the disorder impulses and unproven beliefs of the majority.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GIZJJUIXU3IOFC43CDCQHSAFAI Vivien Castillo

    I went to their rival school and though their decision to rescind is unfortunate its not surprising considering the density of religion in the area and how undereducated a large number of the students in the area are.

  • John Smith

    The public school system is now complicit in inducting children into a life spent engaging in homosexual acts and they are using public tax dollars to do it.


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