Transgender Teens Are the Next Target of Minnesota Bigots

The above full-page ad was run on the back of the Sunday sports section in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday. According to reports, it’s from a coalition of religious right and Tea Party activists who regularly oppose legislation meant to protect vulnerable communities. When they fought anti-bullying legislation, it was under the pretense of government intrusion in schools.

But this worse, way worse.

With an image of a shower and a rhetorical question about a boy showering with “your 14-year old daughter,” they go on to mischaracterize the rule that is being considered by the Minnesota State High School Athletic League. (You can read the draft policy here.)

States around the country are addressing the issue of transgendered high school athletes because the federal government updated Title IX to clarify that civil rights applies to all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. So, like many states, the high school league is going to tell schools that they need to make private accommodations for trans* students whenever possible — and when it’s not possible the trans* student should be allowed to dress and shower with the gender with whom they identify.

As opposed to the bigots, let’s look at this from the perspective of the high school league. They are attempting to update their policies in ways that are humane and sensitive to all students, and they’re doing so in a politically charged climate. Both the morality and the understanding of sexuality has changed quickly and dramatically in our society in just a couple decades. Bureaucratic organizations like the MSHSL are not set up to make snap decisions, so they they been deliberate about this, and they’ve followed the policies of other states (like North Dakota, not exactly a bastion of liberalism).

But more significantly, let’s talk about the trans* teens. Firstly, somewhere between 2 and 5% of the U.S. population experiences some kind of gender dysphoria, and within that number are those who are trans*. [The Star Tribune reports that 0.3% of the American population is trans*.] That means that most trans* kids are going to be alone in their high school class — maybe in their whole school, depending on the size.

Think how hard it is for a trans* teen to even survive high school, much less to go out for a sport. The MSHSL is to be commended for developing a policy that will attempt to protect these vulnerable kids at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

Where is the church on this issue? The Minnesota Catholic Conference is against it, and I haven’t been able to find any religious leader in Minnesota speaking in favor. Well, I don’t have a church or a pulpit, just this little ol’ blog, but let me state clearly and directly: I support the MHSHL’s draft policy for taking a step to protect and respect trans* teens in our state.

UPDATE: The Star Tribune has published an article on this.

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  • davehuth

    That phrase, “wants to shower beside,” is so egregious that Dante should resurrect just to invent a new level of hell for whatever PR flack signed off on it.

  • AJ

    “Are YOU ok with that?”
    Aaaaand once again men are portrayed as
    little more than sex-crazed deviants who want nothing more than to rape
    your 14 y/o girl just because “boys will be boys” and can’t help
    themselves.

  • http://www.briangerald.com/ Brian Gerald

    My friend is a Catholic priest in Minneapolis and he–and his church–are in full support of the changes and he published a piece speaking out against the ad (and offering his own experiences) here: http://anarchistreverend.com/bathroom/

  • Dean

    Honestly, I wouldn’t either. I think I’m pretty progressive on most matters, but this is one instance where it’s not clear to me why we need to accommodate transgendered individuals in this way. There are physical and biological reasons for why we separate the sexes in private areas in this way, particularly during this time of sexual development. I am certainly not opposed to other kinds of accommodations and I fully agree that the tone of this advertisement is unfair, but I think it’s hard to deny the concern that it raises with parents and I don’t even have children. I’m confused as to why people who support transgendered folks are surprised that people would oppose something like this as it involves the visceral emotions that are attached to child rearing, there certainly must be other better options than this. Am I just way off here?

    • Frank6548

      No you are spot on. What these kids need is serious professional help not accommodation.

      • HazumuOsaragi

        What specific serious professional help do you have in mind?

        • Frank6548

          Psychological and maybe even medical help depending on the depth of the disorder.

          • HazumuOsaragi

            Psychological and maybe even medical help depending on the depth of the disorder.

            That’s still general. What is your desired outcome of the psychological and medical treatment?

            What kinds of psychological treatment are allowed, and what kinds are not? Has the psychological treatment you suggest been tried with success? Define ‘success’ in this case. What rate of success? And what rate of success is acceptable? What are the risks, and what is an acceptable level of risk in carrying out the treatment?

            What kinds of medical treatment? Has it been shown to be successful? What rate of success? What are the risks, etc.

            Indeed, Thank you for the opportunity to post this, from the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual,
            Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People, Version 7

            Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and lived gender expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), yet without success, particularly in the long-term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965).
            Such treatment is no longer considered ethical.

          • WilmRoget

            The American medical profession has concluded that the appropriate help for people who experience gender dysphoria is to recognize their experienced gender, over their physical gender, and to accommodate their experienced gender as much as possible.

            So you don’t really want ‘Psychological and maybe even medical help’ – do you? No, you want torture.

            • WilmRoget

              The hate is all yours.

            • Frank6548

              Torture would be deceiving these kids by telling them they get to choose their gender.

              • WilmRoget

                Torture is what you and your peers inflict on much of humanity.

                Your characterization of what gender dysphoria is – ‘choose their gender’ is obscene. Trans folk are not choosing their gender, they are choosing to alter their physical body to match their internal experience of gender, to match their spiritual, inner nature.

                You are actually fixated on the flesh, and demand that transfolk enslave their spirit to the demands of the flesh. You do with the issue of homosexuality as well. You’ve made a false god out of a flesh based assumption about sex, and demand that GLBTQ people should enslave their spirit, which is made by God for intimacy with a person of their own gender, to flesh, to your ideas about what flesh goes with what.

                Your theology is entirely obsessed with flesh, the old nature, and has nothing but contempt for the spirit.

                • Frank6548

                  Oh the irony.

                  • WilmRoget

                    Yes, the irony of you condemning others.

      • Dean

        I think that’s up to their parents after speaking with a medical professional. I’m just speaking to the policy objective. I read the link to the article from the priest. It sounds terrible what he had to go through, but I don’t think an emotional appeal is typically a good way to make public policy, it’s not fundamentally different from the ad posted above. The issue is how do be best protect children from been bullied or assaulted in school. It’s just not clear to me that allowing children who are physically male or female to choose to use the bathroom of the opposite sex will necessarily accomplish that objective, at least not without unforeseen (or maybe foreseen) consequences. Meaning, there is a very clear policy reason why the sexes are separated in this manner, does protecting the interests of transgendered students warrant overriding those other policy objectives? It’s not clear to me that it does. Not to say you can’t come up with some other policy that is accomodative that might work better. I think this is one of those instances where the “conservative right” may be correct in saying that in protecting one group you really are opening up another set of issues without really accomplishing what you’re setting out to do in the first place.

        • HazumuOsaragi

          From the article:

          [T]he high school league is going to tell schools that they need to make private accommodations for trans* students whenever possible — and when it’s not possible the trans* student should be allowed to dress and shower with the gender with whom they identify.

          Do gang showers in girls’ locker rooms still exist? And in a facility with a gang shower, rather than a row or two of curtain-able shower stalls, is there no shower stall in the coach’s office?

          Or is the objection to just the possibility that a ‘factory-equipped’ transgirl might in some instance actually enter a gang-shower with cisgender girls – or would even be allowed in the door of a sex-segregated locker facility, nevermind any control procedures that can be implemented?

          • Dean

            I haven’t been in a girl’s locker room in a long time, so I am not equipped to answer your first question. :)

            But yes, in general, as a policy, I think there is consensus that we don’t want to expose teenage girls to seeing real live teenage penises, even accidentally. Is that the debate you would rather have?

            • HazumuOsaragi

              I was seeking clarification of your position. You believe you are part of a consensus, but is ‘don’t want to expose teenage girls to seeing real live teenage penises, even accidentally’ your personal position?

              P.S., the last time I found a gang shower in a locker room was an old, old athletic complex on a college campus near my home. The new sports complex on the other side of the campus has individual curtained cubbies with an outer changing/drying area and an inner shower stall. These are pretty much standard in almost all of the changing facilities I’ve been in recently.

    • WilmRoget

      ” I’m confused”

      That is really all you had to say.

      See, not everyone is so obsessed with sexuality and nudity that they conclude that being naked in the same room with someone of different genitalia – like a public shower – is dangerous or bad. In fact, anyone who thinks such a situation automatically means rape – is a rapist at heart, telling the world that they absolutely would take evil advantage in such a situation.

      • RobinMavis_AHGET

        See my comment above to Frank6548.

      • Dean

        I wasn’t sure if you were being sarcastic or not. Did you just call me a rapist? :)

        • WilmRoget

          I’m not being sarcastic.

      • Dean

        I was thinking about this the other day, and actually, I think most people are. Jesus, do you live in some suburban utopia? Women (and men, but mostly women) get raped at all the time in this country and every other country in this world, I’m not sure why you seem to nonchalant about that.

        • WilmRoget

          ” I’m not sure why you seem to nonchalant about that.”

          I know why you are lying about me.

          • Dean

            Why?

    • RobinMavis_AHGET

      See my comment to Frank6548 above.

  • paganheart

    They know they are losing (or have lost) their war on homosexuality, so like all good bullies, they are looking for a new target for their abuse. Unfortunately it appears the trans* community is next.

    When they lose that war, who will they go after then?

    • RobinMavis_AHGET

      us pagans…it’s cyclical…remember the witch hunts with satanic daycare crap in the 1980’s?

      • paganheart

        And the West Memphis Three in the 1990s…Ah yes, the old “Satanic Panic” thing….I remember it well….I was in junior high and high school in those days, and a year didn’t go by that my church youth group (and one year my school!) didn’t bring in one of those “former satanic cult” members who would recount to us impressionable youth how they were just a “normal” kid doing “normal” things until one day, when they started playing Dungeons & Dragons, or listening to heavy metal, or reading some “demon-influenced” book like the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy…next thing you know they were a full-blown “satan worshipper” taking all sorts of drugs, going to orgies and sacrificing puppies and virgins at midnight under the full moon…All of which ended, of course, as soon as they “accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior” and now please line up for the altar call….

        Most if not all of it was a load of BS, of course, but a lot of con artists made a good living back in the day passing themselves off as experts on “satanic cult murders” and such. There are still a few of them around; there’s a fundie megachurch pastor in my neck of the woods who’s weasled himself onto the local TV news the past couple of years warning parents not to let their little darlings go trick-or-treating on Halloween, because there will be “satanic cultists” out on the streets who will kidnap them and take them up into the mountains for “child sex rituals”….seriously….. *smh*…. oh and the same guy also says that parents should never let their kids look at Facebook or Twitter either because both social networks are “the primary recruiting grounds for satanic sex cults.”

        I suppose they might try and come after the pagan/wiccan/druid community again, but they might also turn their attacks on the polyamory community, or Muslims, or atheists…some of that starting to pick up steam in fundie circles as well.

    • Frank6548

      Homosexual behavior is still a sin. Nothing has changed.

      • WilmRoget

        It is not sin for homosexuals. It never has been.

        • Frank6548

          It’s not considered a sin to anyone who rejects God that is true but since God declared it a sin nothing will ever change that fact.

          Of course unrepentant sinners don’t think their actions are sinful.

          • WilmRoget

            “Of course unrepentant sinners don’t think their actions are sinful.’

            Which explains all of your posts.

            ” since God declared it a sin”

            Once again, you are lying, but of course, like any unrepentant sinner, you don’t think your lies is sinful, or even a lie.

            • Frank6548

              Then I am sure you can point out anywhere God condones homosexual behavior.

              • WilmRoget

                Right after you point out anywhere God condones using computers, or being named Frank.

                Since you sinfully use that standard to judge others, you are judged, and condemned by it – anything and everything you do, including your very name, that is not condoned in the Bible is sin for you.

                • Frank6548

                  Thanks for admitting that God doesn’t do anything but condemn homosexual activity.

                  • WilmRoget

                    Your lies only prove that nothing you ever say is honest.

                    Remember, you made posting on the internet sin for you – but of course, you don’t care, you sin freely and without remorse or concern every time you post here anyways, through slander and false witness.

                    • Frank6548

                      Do you have any idea how foolish you sound? How embarrassing for you.

                    • WilmRoget

                      As you revel in your worldly hated of GLBTQ people,

                      1 Corinthians 3:19

                      For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;

                    • Frank6548

                      No amount of craftiness will change the fact that all homosexual behavior is sinful. Thanks for the confirmations!

                    • WilmRoget

                      And yet homosexuality, and homosexual behavior is not inherently sinful, you are simply a false teacher doing your best to harm other people.

                      The sin in this issue is yours. You are engaged in all seven of the things God hates:

                      Proverbs 6

                      2 A troublemaker and a villain,
                      who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
                      13 who winks maliciously with his eye,
                      signals with his feet
                      and motions with his fingers,
                      14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
                      he always stirs up conflict.
                      15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
                      he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

                      16 There are six things the Lord hates,
                      seven that are detestable to him:
                      17 haughty eyes,
                      a lying tongue,
                      hands that shed innocent blood,
                      18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
                      feet that are quick to rush into evil,
                      19 a false witness who pours out lies
                      and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

                    • Frank6548

                      See above. You’ve been exposed.

                    • WilmRoget

                      Nothing above, or below, helps you.

  • Andrew Dowling

    It’s typical right-wing fear-mongering, but I do disagree with the legislation saying the school has to allow the child to dress and shower with the gender they identify with if accommodations can’t be found. Whoever wrote the legislation was stupid to include that provision.

    • HazumuOsaragi

      I do disagree with the legislation saying the school has to allow the child to dress and shower the gender they identify with if accommodations can’t be found.

      What about a school just for LGBT students, who could then receive an education free of the bullying/taunting/ostracism/stigmatization that systematically happens in the normal schools? A school that would be treated as a magnet school, with funding at least at the 85th percentile for all the schools in the district/area, so that it would attract and hold good teachers?

      This would solve the ‘shower problem,’ as most of the cisgender girls would be uninterested in what the transgender girl came factory-equipped with – and the same would be true for a transboy in the male showers.

      • Dean

        I think we’re too obsessed with sexuality in general, schools should protect children from getting bullied period, I would rather money and policies go into ensuring that. It should include educating people about LGBT issues, but this whole thing with showers and separate schools, I mean, that’s not a real solution to these issues, wouldn’t you agree?

        • HazumuOsaragi

          but this whole thing with showers

          But that’s precisely the issue here.

          In California, the legislature passed and the governor signed AB1266, which codified transgender access to gendered facilities. Opponents collected signatures by claiming the ‘gay guys’ would invade the girls’ locker rooms – nevermind that a ‘gay guy’ would have no sexual interest in a cisgender girl.

          If the purpose of gender-separated shower and evacuation facilities is to preserve sexual purity and prevent hanky-panky, how is that accomplished in a separate school for LGBT students? Here are two separate locker rooms filled with people who are surrounded by those they are attracted to. Yet, I suspect that there are people who feel that in such a situation it’s still somehow morally wrong to have a male-bodied student shower with a bunch of female-bodied students who are attracted to each other and uninterested in the , *ahem*, ‘male attributes.

          Jonathan Haidt called such a situation a ‘moral dumbfounding.’ I’m asking these questions to find the contours of this confounding.

          (EDIT: It’s ‘Moral Dumbfounding’, not – ‘confounding’.)

          • Dean

            I think you were the one who proposed a separate school for LGBT students, I think that idea is ridiculous. I have no idea why you think this is a sexual purity issue and the readers of these comments can judge for themselves who has a chip on their shoulder. My original premise is that there are public policy reasons why the sexes are separated in public restrooms and shower facilities, etc. I take it you are a man because your comments wouldn’t otherwise make any sense. Ask a female friend how they would feel using a public shower with other men, gay or straight, transgender or not (because it should always be so obvious right?) and then mock them as “prudes” when they object. I’ve read a lot of Jonathan Haidt, so I’m not really engaging in this exchange to change your mind, I think it’s helpful for other people to see where this line of thinking goes. Basically, I think you are trying to interpose some sort of gender/sexual utopia on a world that is just not like that, not even close. Maybe it should be, who knows, but good public policy needs to be grounded in reality IMHO.

            • HazumuOsaragi

              I assure you, I’m not engaging in this exchange to change your mind, either. Cognitive bias, backfire effect, et. al., make that quite difficult to change anyone’s mind.

              You said in a previous post: I think we’re too obsessed with sexuality in general

              Go to Google Images and enter the search term [inappropriate onesies for babies]. I can’t argue with your statement.

              Your saying, I take it you are a man, sets up a Strawman Fallacy. My birth certificate, as well as all documents derived from it, says Female. Your further fallacy is Ask a female, as if every female will agree with your point. There are those who do, and those who don’t. Within your social circles, I’ve no doubt that a majority of your female friends are in agreement with your assertion, as we social animals tend to form tribes around shared values. But because your tribe is mostly in agreement doesn’t mean that you can extrapolate to other tribes.

              Basically, I think you are trying to interpose some sort of gender/sexual utopia on a world that is just not like that, not even close

              Project much? I’m asking questions to tease out where you actually stand on various aspects of this issue, as your initial posts were vague, as if you were trying to appear that you cared about the crap trans* kids have to put up with, while still ‘dog-whistling’ your real stance.

              My questions seem to be working, as you’ve clarified and taken (more) ownership of your position. You’ve also had difficulty explaining just why you take your positions, much like subjects of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Dumbfounding research.

              And I did suggest a separate LGBT school as a trial balloon, to see what your response would be. Still, separate schools for LGBT and other ‘icky’ kids may become necessary, so the LGBT students have a chance to grow and develop in an environment where they’re not constantly targeted by bullies. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jail system has a housing unit set aside for LGBT inmates:

              In the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail a unit known as the K6G unit is comprised mainly of gay man and transgendered women. Unlike other units, the K6G unit is virtually free of gang-related politics and violence, and boasts an extraordinarily low rate of sexual assaults.

              So perhaps a school segregated by non-standard sexual preference or gender identity may be a way of ‘keeping the peace’ with society at large while giving the LGBT kids a chance at a semblance of ‘normal’ growing up.

              Any way, thank you for the opportunity to expound my views on this issue, and thank you for taking more ownership of your own position on this issue.

  • RobinMavis_AHGET

    Did you even read the draft policy? I’m guessing not, because you would realize that the policy doesn’t even mention anything about locker rooms or showers at all. The policy is ONLY about whether the trans student can participate in the sport and on which team they can participate.

    I honestly don’t understand how you all can make such remarks when you are so lazy you can’t even read and understand a simple policy about participation.

    This is no different than schools having a policy about whether a tran student can participate in a boys versus girls choir. Such a policy wouldn’t include anything on which bathroom the student should be able to use, because the policy is only on participation. Using a locker room or shower isn’t about participating in the sport itself, and that is the narrow policy focus that the MNHL is considering.

    The Child Protection (only if your child is normal according to their standards) league was successful in finding your weak mind and preying on it to produce unjustified and irrational fear.

    Take a look at the ad…a male…why do you suppose they use that term? Because automatically your mind jumped to and adult male figure in your imagination based on them juxtaposing it to 14 year old daughter.

    You swallowed their bait, hook, line, sinker and all. Use a little critical thinking and analysis.

    • Frank6549

      I did. The fact remains these poor kids need serious help not accommodations to their sickness.

      • WilmRoget

        The serious help people with gender dysphoria, and related conditions require, entails aligning their physical bodies to match their internal experience of gender, their spirit.

        And they need to be protected from people like you.