In December I wrote about Palatine School District 211’s Board meeting. During public commentary there were adults and students speaking to the school board both for and against transgender access to locker rooms of the gender they identify with. This is due to a young student named Nova. Nova wants to use the women’s bathroom and locker room. She is being denied fair and equal access by her school district. Her and her mother took the matter to court. Yesterday, a Cook County judge denied the injunction that would have defended Nova’s equality and civil rights.
There is a local hate group in the Chicago area involved in this called Parents for Privacy. It’s likely they are having a field day over this and seeing it as a victory. They see it as a victory for a warped definition of scientific biology, morality, and the Bible. The reality is, there is no victory here. There is a child that has been told she is not equal. A teenage girl has been given a message loud and clear that she is different and a perceived threat to other girls. Recently, the women’s march was made unsafe to many transgender people due to TERFS marching with hateful signs.
Earlier this morning I was online and a woman I know said something that stuck at me as I composed my first draft of today’s column. She said, “Conservatives seem always to be willing to dial it up to 11 while progressives are still wringing their hands over whether or not it’s wrong to touch the dial at all.” On the rare occasion we do touch the dial, we get accused of not being civil.
In response to my last column, a Transparenting 101 lesson on not allowing trans youth to be silenced, a reader told me the following. “To quickly cast aside family and friends over their lack of understanding seems counter to the idea of acceptance….I know the only way to create community is through openly discussing idea and principles.” Here is the problem. We are not talking about ideas and principles here. What we are talking about is family members who would ask me to stuff my son in a dress and use his dead name. What we are talking about a young lady who is essentially shoved into a broom closet and told this is her private changing room. The symbolism alone in that last sentence is vomit inducing.
Nova and her mother are people that I personally know and treasure. They are hurt by this. They have to suffer fools and endure hate and discrimination in the suburbs of Chicago. Palatine’s history of racism is a testament to everything horrific about the suburban history of racism and redlining. It is no wonder that they have transphobic residents that would dare to go to school district meetings to shame and harm a teenage girl.
The cowardice and veiled intolerance of the school district board to defend the indefensible is nauseating. It is in my opinion that the judge mande the wrong legal and moral decision. I do not see history being kind to men like the “Honorable” Judge Thomas R. Allen. He cited the four corners of the statute and pointed out that “They have allowed access – access, access, access.” He hid behind the fact the law does not say full and fair access as opposed to taking the bold stand many judges take to interpret a law’s intent. Schools all over Cook County and the state of Illinois interpret the laws and the state board of education to mean full and fair and equal access.
The moral compass of our western society is broken. But the cause of this is not liberals. It is this new conservative christian ethic that has arisen like a rabid dog that was just injected with steroids. Atticus Finch put down a rabid dog in “To Kill A Mockingbird” as did Scout, but this is not going to be as easy a task.The woman that I quoted earlier is right, though, we need to put our hand on the dial and call out these hate mongers for what they are. They are a clear and present danger to women, minorities, the poor, the LGBTQIA community, people with disabilities, muslims, atheists, and children.
Hate won a minor victory yesterday. The war is not over. I doubt that we have seen the last of Nova in this fight.
I have heard it said that in a few decades we will not even be having this conversation anymore. As I speak to women who march and people of color who have to remind us that black lives matter, I am not so sure. We have had Suffrage and Civil Rights on the law books longer than I have been alive. These same people who oppose Nova, often oppose women’s equality and black lives.
In a recent column I asked a simple question. Where’s the revolution? I am still asking that. Please don’t let Nova down. Don’t let my son down. Please do not let down every young woman who would like to have equal pay and live in a world where they do not have to worry about being raped. Don’t let down every young black person who is told they do not matter every time some racist says all lives matter.
If you want to make a difference, my son gave the simple suggestions in a guest column he wrote here months ago in regard to some controversy regarding a Buffalo Wild Wings employee refusing to serve him.
Internet activism means nothing unless you actually make an attempt at change. It does not have to be big. Write a letter to or call your representatives. Attend a rally. Vote. You could even Google “How Can I Advocate For Transgender People?” That alone would be better than writing angry comments to a large corporation. I think what some of you have forgotten is that this is NOT about Buffalo Wild Wings. This is about the lives of trans people. Three of my friends are dead. All three committed suicide due to trans-related bullying. No amount of screaming at BWW will bring them back. What that woman said is not due to a fault in BWW’s company. Rather, it has to do with the fact that society is fundamentally flawed. Currently, we live in a society where the refusal to accept trans people is protected under religious freedom. We live in a society where the refusal to serve trans people is protected under religious freedom. This is not okay. There needs to be a stronger focus on EDUCATING the public, not reprimanding corporations that, quite honestly, have nothing to do with what this woman said. Reprimanding the corporations will not prevent more deaths. To do that, we have to change society.
Let’s grab the dial, turn it up to 11, and change society.
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