Teacher Fired for Refusing to Use Transgender Student’s Preferred Pronouns

Teacher Fired for Refusing to Use Transgender Student’s Preferred Pronouns December 9, 2018

In Virginia, a French teacher at West Point High School lost his job because he refused to use the proper pronoun for a transgender student.  When the district and Peter Vlaming couldn’t agree on the issue, Vlaming requested a public hearing. Even though administrative issues are generally private, Vlaming hoped the public setting would put pressure on the school board. Vlaming’s plan backfired when the school board voted unanimously to fire him.

According to a report on WTVR in Virginia, trouble started when a transgender student entered Vlaming’s class. The transgender child had recently started his transition and asked for the school to call him he/him.

While in his class, Vlaming refused to use the child’s preferred pronoun. In October, Vlaming admitted to the principal that he had a “slip-up” and called the student her instead of him.

Over multiple meetings with the principal and superintendent, Vlaming was counseled by the district to address the student with their preferred pronoun and name. However, Vlaming refused to follow their direction.

After the failed attempt by the superintendent to mediate the issue, the superintendent recommended that the school board terminate the teacher.

Last week the district held the meeting publically at the request of Vlaming. During the hearing, Vlaming said that he is a teacher, but above everything else, he is a Christian. Because of his faith, Vlaming said he could not use the child’s preferred pronoun and name.

“We are here today because a specific worldview is being imposed on me,” Vlaming read from a prepared statement. “Even higher than my family ranks my faith.”

When superintendent, Laura Abel, spoke to the school board her take was straight to the point. She said by Vlaming refusing to use the student’s preferred pronoun and name; he discriminated against the child. Additionally, she noted that Vlaming created a hostile environment for the child.

Vlaming’s attorney, Shawn Voyles, argued his client could not be forced to say something that violates his conscience.

The district’s attorney, Stacey Haney, responded that Vlaming’s made a conscious choice to treat a transgender child differently than other students. Because of his decision to willfully deny the child’s rights, the attorney argued that Vlaming discriminated against the student.

After the arguments from both sides finished, the school board voted 5-0 to terminate Vlaming.

When a reporter asked Vlaming if the fight was worth it, he responded, “there are some hills that are worth dying on.”

Following Vlaming’s termination, the School Board updated the West Point High School with an announcement. The announcement from the school board said:

Thursday night, the School Board made a difficult decision after thoughtful consideration. It is the Board’s responsibility to adopt and uphold policy, and we unanimously voted to affirm the Superintendent’s recommendation to terminate Mr. Vlaming.

West Point Public Schools has the responsibility to ensure all students have a safe and supportive school environment where they can learn and thrive. We do not and cannot tolerate discrimination in any form, or actions that create a hostile environment for any member of our school family.

Mr. Vlaming was asked repeatedly, over several weeks and by multiple administrators, to address a student by the pronouns with which this student identifies. The issue before us was not one mistaken slip of the tongue. Mr. Vlaming consistently refused to comply going forward — including in a statement made at the hearing — a willful violation of school board policy.

While we understand that some do not agree with our decision, we hope to have discussions that help West Point Public Schools move forward, maintain our focus on excellence and instruction, and make a positive impact on the lives of our community’s children.

The Town of West Point School Board

Naturally, Vlaming’s attorney said that they have 10-days to appeal the decision by the school board. Also, the attorney said they have not ruled out filing a federal lawsuit for Vlaming’s termination.

The National Center for Transgender Equality says that federal law protects transgender students in school. Under Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in schools, a transgender student cannot be discriminated against because of their gender. As a part of Title IX students have a right to be called by their preferred pronoun while at school.

Unless there are changes to Title IX, Vlaming’s potential federal lawsuit has no legs to stand on. Vlaming willfully chose to discriminate against a child that is protected under Title IX. Because Vlaming decided to put his faith above his profession, Vlaming lost his job.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jim Jones

    > Vlaming said that he is a teacher, but above everything else, he is a Christian. Because of his faith, Vlaming said he could not use the child’s preferred pronoun and name.

    Chapter & verse, asshole. Quote me the chapter & verse.

  • Yeah, I was wondering where. in the bible it said it was ok to be an asshole

  • koseighty

    I’m nearing 60, cis male. My whole life I’ve expected to be referred to as the gender I present — without being subjected to inspection or debate. Everyone I know has the same expectation. I, and everyone I know, extends that curtesy to everyone they meet.

    Except when it comes to transexuals. Then, for some reason, some (thankfully, not all) choose to ignore this time honored tradition and be complete assholes. Nice to see the asshole slapped down for a change.

  • same!

  • Clancy

    This isn’t rocket science.
    “My name is Arvid. Please call me Chip.” Sure
    “I’m married, but I prefer to use Ms.” Sure
    “Please use my maiden name.” Sure
    “I prefer to use my middle name.” Sure
    “My birth name can’t be pronounced in English. Please use my English name” Sure
    “Please use my preferred pronouns.” *gasp* Abomination! A bridge too far! Never surrender!
    Stupid asshole.

  • Lambchopsuey

    This raging wang no doubt hasn’t the slightest problem calling “William” “Bill” or “Maximillian” “Max” or “Elizabeth” “Liz” or “Catherine” “Cathy”. No, the only problem he has is treating one of his hateful intolerant Christianity’s chosen targets like every other human being.

  • Rob McClintock

    I actually don’t think it’s as cut and dried as all that. Contrary to what some may think,it’s actually very controversial. For example, if someone says they are female, do they then get to use a girls locker room even though it may make girls there uncomfortable? If they do not appear to be of the gender they claim, can absolutely anyone do it?

    And that raises another point. Many feminists define women not merely based on how you feel about yourself, but based on the whole of your lived experience within a historic social, biological context. By claiming to share female identity but having had, say, the majority of your experience lived as a male, does that mean you suddenly do share that female experience?

    What are the boundaries of gender identity anyway? I’m cautious about this because it is not just a name, as others have said here. It is far more fundamental to indenting than that. What we are being told by means of this story is that discrimination based on sexual identity doesn’t mean unfairly grading someone, or refusing to give them access to learning materials, or giving them a chance to demonstrate their abilities. It’s whether or not you call them by a preferred name. If all that matters were the name, then in theory if a man–Donald Trump, say–were to declare himself a woman, would he suddenly become the first female President of the United States?

    I’m curious also about what was said during mediation. I wonder if the teachers views were taken into consideration at all. So I’m not absolutely certain that this was the right decision. And I understand why the teacher was reluctant to, because I imagine that, to him, it seemed like condoning sexual immorality. It is not easy to go against popular ideas. One notices the unanimous decision to fire him.

    As I say, this is something I am still puzzling out. It’s easy relatively speaking in a private context, mirechallenging in a public one.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    FFS, do you REALLY need a list? Every other page is filled with god telling people to be evil.. Go bash those babies against the rocks. Rape your enemies daughters. Kill your 1st born children. Hate your parents. etc etc etc.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    “I wonder if the teachers views were taken into consideration at all.” His views do not matter. He broke the law. What he did was no different than if he decided to refer to a child as ‘Jewy McChristkiller’ or ‘Blackie Dumape’ or ‘Whitey BombMaker’. He was insulting, disrespectful , and in clear violation of the LAW. Not only was he being a fucking prick for jesus, he BROKE THE FUCKING LAW. His views do not excuse. We are slowly getting to a point where ‘xtian beliefs’ does NOT give you the right to BREAK THE FUCKING LAW.

  • Rob McClintock

    Mediation means that different views are aired and some mutual understanding is explored, so that is why I wonder how it went. Of course its’ private, correctly, but I am still free to wonder.

    And your dogmatism does not impress me. Laws can be challenged and changed. That’s part of how the Common Law works. It is rather depressing though to see this unfortunate and all too typical response–angry, defensive–to honest questions. The consistencey of such angry and defensive responses though has me questioning whether supporting such anti discrimination laws is good or wise. It seems to have led to many supporters of trans people that are outspoken expressing the idea that only an awful, hateful person would disagree with them. Is that really the impression you mean to give?

  • Jim Jones
  • Jemolk

    Going by what was said here, on both sides, looks distinctly like it boils down to the guy deciding, willfully, to be a complete ass to one kid in particular because he was trans. This case is honestly pretty damn clear cut, since even the teacher’s defense is no more than “but I have a religious belief that compels me to shit on trans people!”

  • Rob McClintock

    That’s not what I was addressing. I was talking about the larger social issues surrounding it. Obviously it’s currently a law that is upheld by courts.

  • Catherine

    Hurting children rightly makes people angry and defensive. If people choose to hurt children they would quite rightly be seen as awful and hateful.

  • Jemolk

    Well, yes, but most of the common issues are super straightforward. Even the less common issues are largely issues because of the extreme sex segregation of modern society. The feminist definition is the largest theoretical problem, but can be resolved by pointing out the shift in experience, so it’s not sudden, but gradual and increasing sharing in the experience. I also suspect that in terms of practical problems presented, there are approximately zero there.

    Basically, we know when someone’s being an ass because they can and when they might be genuinely trying or seriously having a hard time. We need to lay off the hard rules is all. In this case, it’s not just refusing to use a preferred name, it’s deliberately humiliating a student in front of a class. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on. In contrast, if someone keeps getting confused about names and calls someone by a different nickname or something, even if there are rules about that you don’t throw the book at them if they are trying to be better about it. The problems mostly seem to come from rigidity and wanting an easy, single set of rules laid out that can address all these situations comprehensively.

  • Rob McClintock

    What do you mean when you say to lay off the hard rules? And what do you mean by zero problems?

    The feminist issue, as you say, may have a gradual shift, but in the meantime ideologically it defines women’s suffering as being different from the suffering of intersex people, men and children. And this is rather typical. So rather than recognizing what is common to suffering, suffering is made particular even when it is not uniqe to, say, particular medical conditions.

    What I was also addressing was that I’m dubious that the teacher was absolutely a jerk. I suspect he was doign what he thought was right. That doesn’t make it right, per se.

    Personally, I don’t object to using preferred pronouns, particularly when someone like the kid in this case is making an effort to change their appearance oto that of thei preferred gender. I think that as a Christian being courteous doesn’t affect your personal morals. However I can see how it can be challenging. If someone believes in sola scriptura then, one might ask, isn’t accepting calling people by preferred pronouns outside of the norm amount to sacrificing to Dagon? So while I do not necessarily agree with the position taken, I can understand the thoughts that may have been behind it.

    I think that the key difference between myself and this teacher is that I don’t see how calling a trans person by a preferred pronoun will change my morals. I would probably have preferred a different hill for my career to die on.

  • Zetopan

    “Even higher than my family ranks my faith.”
    He almost got that right; his word order is confused (his faith is rank).

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    i think you make some excellent points, the issues of gender vs sex and what that means are massive and subtle, with lots of passion and vitriol on all sides, however in this specific case i think the issue is pretty straight forward, if someone wants to be called by a certain set of pronouns then that’s down to them, its like people preferring John to Johnathon, i know people who get very upset if you get that wrong. Not to mention with the use of pronouns, think about how they are used in normal conversation, when was the last time you used him or her when the person you are talking about is present. you would usually just use their name and i seriously doubt this issue would have come up if all instances of the wrong pronouns being used where were the person in question was absent. I guess what i am saying is this sounds a lot like some one engineering a situation to prove a point. The fact the teacher wanted this settled where he thought he would get popular support also suggests a degree of grand standing, and probably contributed to the boards decision

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    there is a reason the song ‘Dude looks like a lady’ got written, with some people you just have to go with what they tell you

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    If your belief is more important to you than your job, then he should really be a priest not a teacher, then there is no conflict of interests ( and one less douch bag teacher)

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    even the love thy neighbor shit only means other people in your tribe, everyone else can go take a long walk of a short pier as far the writers of the bible where concerned

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    now this idiot will get a teaching gig at fundy high and the hystericals will have an actual case of the evils of the LGBT agenda, It needed to happen but the fallout will be messy

  • Spirit Plumber

    I was gonna say “Firing this guy for one instance is probably excessive, just make sure the point gets across” but it looks like he wanted to make an issue of it, in which case, bye.

  • Spirit Plumber

    In that sense I like the story of the good Samaritan.

  • Anri

    For example, if someone says they are female, do they then get to use a girls locker room even though it may make girls there uncomfortable?

    This is forever the issue raised, yet oddly almost never with actual examples of this being the case. It always seem to be “If” – “if” the other girls are uncomfortable – “if” they are secretly sexual predators – “if” they’re just saying things to get attention.
    So I’ll tell you what: it’s certainly not impossible this might be the case at times, that there might be examples of these sorts of things. Speaking for myself, I’ll engage with these potential issues when it can be demonstrated they’re not just an alarmist’s fever dream. Bring me the class of girls objecting to the dressing room business, bring me the statistics showing how many trans people sexually abuse strangers in restrooms, list the cases of kids making declarations of their trans state without any evaluation.

    None of this has the slightest bit to do with a teacher assuming they have the right to check on a student’s genitals before deciding what pronoun they are willing to use, of course.

    As far as it being not clear cut, well, let’s assume that the argument was made that the teacher’s faith made him consider all black people to be children, and he was therefore perfectly justified in calling adults “boy”. That clear-cut enough for you?

  • Anri

    Looks like both the teacher and the school board got what they wanted – the teacher got to demonstrate his True Belief in his sky-daddy’s commanded bigotry, and the school board got to get rid of a harmful bigot.

    It would be win-win, if the fulcrum point hadn’t been a crying child.

    Ah, well, here we are again, knowing they are Christians by their love, by their love…

  • Foxglove

    Hi, Rob! I think you’re asking some useful questions in your posts here, but I’m not certain the answers you’re getting are particularly useful to you. So I thought I’d address these questions–and I’ll have to ask you to excuse the length of this post. Your questions simply cannot be answered in 25 words or less.

    First of all, the reason this teacher is being such an asshole and deserves to lose his job: society has long divided people into two classes, male and female, and has claimed that there is a clear-cut distinction between the two. Now this is false: rather than trying to draw a sharp line between male and female, it would be more useful and accurate to envision a grey area in the middle where the two gradually blend into each other. People have got used to thinking in terms of two categories, but in fact there is a lot of variation when it comes to gender.

    The usual procedure is to define and separate people according to their genitalia. This procedure erases transpeople because it ignores the fact that the question of gender is more complicated than that. It ignores what we call “gender identity”. And this is where discrimination comes in: you as a cisgender person have always had the right to live in accordance with your gender identity. You probably weren’t aware that that’s what you were doing, and you may have trouble conceiving how you could possibly do otherwise. But we transpeople have long been forced to live contrary to our gender identity. We have not had the same right as you to live in accordance with our gender identity.

    Now why is this so important? What is the effect on a transgender life when the individual in question is forced to live contrary to their nature? I think the best way to get an answer to that question is to look at the life of David Reimer, your usual sort of cisgender boy who was forced to live as a girl. See what it did to his life. He ended up committing suicide.

    And this is the point: when society forces transpeople to live according to their bodies rather than their gender identities, they are putting a huge burden, they are putting huge psychological pressure on transpeople that they’re not putting on anybody else. Furthermore, there’s no need to do so. Allowing transpeople to live their lives as themselves does not cause society any particular problem. So forcing transpeople to live contrary to their nature is simply discriminatory.

    When this teacher insists on using the wrong pronouns, he’s trying to enforce the time-honored societal definition of people that erases transpeople. He’s simply saying, “I’m not going to regard you as transgender. I’m going to try to force you to be what I say you are.” Law is now correct to tell him he doesn’t have the right to do that. Society is now deciding that this sort of discrimination is unwarranted, and he doesn’t have the right to declare unilaterally that he will continue to enforce that discrimination.

    Now, it’s at this point that he wants to bring in his religious beliefs. There are certain religious people who cause enormous trouble: they want the right to define reality according to their beliefs. E.g., if their religion tells them there’s no such thing as evolution, then they demand the right to put creationism in textbooks and teach it to school children. But if something is proven fact (which evolution is), their beliefs are simply wrong, and saying that they’re religious beliefs doesn’t change that.

    And there are religious people these days who insist that because their religious beliefs don’t recognize the existence of transgender people, they should be allowed to ignore our existence and treat us accordingly. It’s up to society to decide how we’ll deal with such people. But we transpeople are insisting that they should not have the right to use their religion to define us out of existence because in so doing, they do immense and completely unnecessary harm to our lives.

    Then we come to this point:

    If all that matters were the name, then in theory if a man–Donald Trump, say–were to declare himself a woman, would he suddenly become the first female President of the United States?

    We transpeople hear this sort of thing all the time: a man can simply declare himself a woman and nobody can challenge him on this point. That’s simply a misunderstanding–first of all because we’re coming back to the notion that there are only two kinds of people, men and women.

    It’s like this, Rob: three years ago a new law here in Ireland permitted me to change my legally recognized gender from male to female. But this isn’t to say that I was a man who was declaring himself to be a woman. No, what I was doing was declaring my gender identity to be female and declaring my intention to live female in the future. But I wasn’t changing in any way. What I am today is what I’ve always been. I didn’t change what I was. I merely began expressing what I was, something I’d long been prevented from doing. When a transperson comes out, it’s not a question of a man becoming a woman or a woman becoming a man. It’s a question of a transperson beginning to live in accordance with their nature.

    Now obviously, anybody can claim to be transgender–but that doesn’t make them trans if they’re not. People can claim to be anything. Donald Trump, if you want to talk about him, can claim to be a billionaire, but that doesn’t make him one if he’s not. People have the idea that if somebody’s claiming to be trans, there’s no way of challenging them on that point. Of course there is. If I had to prove that I’m trans, there are several ways I could do it with very little effort.

    It’s a question of “gender identity”, something a lot of people have trouble understanding. Your gender identity is a function of your brain. Science these days is beginning bit by bit to creep towards an understanding of that function. As a transperson myself, I don’t need that scientific understanding. I know what my gender identity is and I’m living accordingly. Let somebody else declare their gender identity. They’ll then show us if it is what they say it is.

    Finally, one point that I wanted to address but on which I often have trouble articulating what I want to say. This concerns feminism and gender theory. Now in one sense this is simply irrelevant to me. In another sense it is obviously hugely important. We talk about “gender as a social construct”. That is, society creates a view of “man” and a view of “woman”, and will establish certain norms and rules and roles and expectations–and not only does that shape people’s lives within that society, but it also has an enormous influence on how they view themselves.

    This will of course affect transgender people like it does everybody else. If I’m growing up in the same society as “Cisgender Joe”, I will be presented the same view of women as he is, and if I envision living female or if I see “female” within me, that’s going to affect how I see myself and how I will go about living my life.

    But where all this is irrelevant to me is that it is not the social construct that made me transgender in the first place. Gender identity is a function of the brain that society cannot influence in any way. I’m not simply asserting this. I assert it on the basis of my own lived experience on that of the many transgender people I’ve had contact with in one way or another.

    When you’re transgender, society will define you in a certain way and will do everything it can to make you fit that definition. But if you don’t actually fit it, there’s nothing that society can do about that. All of us transpeople were defined as “boy” or “girl” and were raised accordingly and came under huge pressure to conform to expectations–but we’re all still trans. If you’re trans, you’re trans, and society has no input into that.

    All of which is to say that if you’re looking to feminism or gender theory to help you understand transgenderism, I think you’re wasting your time. As a matter of fact, recently I had an exchange with a fellow who seemed to think he knew all about gender theory, but what he had to say about transgenderism was ludicrously wrong. Gender theory can help you understand how transpeople, like cispeople, express themselves, but it won’t explain to you why transpeople are trans in the first place. If you want to understand why we are what we are, well, as I said, science is beginning to get there bit by bit, but it’s not going to have any firm answers next week. And as I said, that’s not particularly important to me. I am what I am, and I insist on my right to be what I am.

    So, this is what I can say to you, Rob. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t. On fait ce qu’on peut.

  • Sophotroph
  • There is nothing to take into consideration. the laws are the laws.

  • He used the wrong pronoun for months

  • Cozmo – I just want you to know – we love you at Patheos. All of the contributors that you comment on – think you are the bees knees!

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Well, thank you.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Why not try READING a post before commenting. Did you completely MISS where he had a PUBLIC meeting and said he refused to use the proper pronouns because of his BIGOTED RELIGIOUS BELIEFS?

    “only an awful, hateful person would disagree with them” When it comes to basic civil rights, yeah you must be an awful hateful person to want to deny others what you up on your high horse have without thought.

    This guy is a fucking bigot and thinks that the bible will protect him from having to follow FEDERAL antidiscrimination law. And as far as ‘changing’ the law. Sorry bigots. This nation is trying to move FORWARD , not backward. Go cry with the nazis,kkk, homophobes, antisemites and all the rest of the bigots, the rest of us have had ENOUGH of that BS.

  • Spirit Plumber

    Yeah, not cool. I tend to be patient when people get mine wrong, but this guy was doing so intentionally, as far as I can tell.

  • bill braskey

    The teacher has first amendment rights. The student and school do not have a right to compel his speech. End of story. Can’t wait to see him sue the school and win.

  • kilda

    well, there you go. Being a Christian comes above being a teacher for him, and now he can carry on with being a Christian, and is no longer a teacher. He can follow his conscience all he wants, on his own time.

  • kilda

    none of that was even at issue here. The teacher wasn’t asked to share a locker room with this student, or to declare him the first female president. He was asked to address the student by the name and pronouns the student prefers. This request would not have been difficult for him to honor, and to refuse is flat out rude. He chose not to extend that simple courtesy, and when told that it was not optional, chose to continue to do it. So he got fired. that’s pretty simple.

  • kilda

    nope, but they do have the right to fire him if his speech violates the law and/or school policy. No one’s trying to arrest him for not using the requested pronoun, that would indeed violate his free speech rights. they’re just exercising *their* right to no longer employ him.

  • Jim Jones

    But they all want to get their hands on little kids’ brains. For Jesus.

  • Jemolk

    For the “obviously a jerk” bit — would the guy object to calling someone by a requested nickname? For example, would he point-blank refuse to call “William” “Bill”? Almost certainly not. It’s basic courtesy to call people what they prefer to be called, and in the vast majority of cases, the guy would have no issues with that. The primary difference with being transgender is that it’s even more important, as a matter of core identity, not merely personal preference. What the teacher did was essentially a personal attack on a kid in his care. That’s unacceptable. And secondly, if his “morality,” in quotes because it’s about as far as I can imagine from actual morality, demands that he do this, he can go find a job that doesn’t involve dealing with people, ever, so that the issue doesn’t arise. If you can’t do the job, find a different job. If you were hiring someone for a deli that primarily dealt in pork products, Muslims would mostly not apply, because of their convictions, rather than demanding exceptions for large portions of the job they’re being hired to do. Basically, if you sacrifice for your moral code, regardless of how utterly insane that code is, fine. If you want OTHER people to sacrifice for YOUR code, that’s not okay at all, and I see no reason not to resolve the situation in the simplest way by firing you on the spot.

    For laying off hard rules/lack of practical problems — I meant essentially exactly what I said. I should clarify, however, that in my (fairly extensive and holistic) understanding of the universe, simple black-and-white binaries are rare almost to the point of nonexistence. The largest exception, ironically, is in human laws and less formal rules. Things like “never do [x]” where x is defined exceedingly broadly, like “never lie” or even “never kill.” The problem here is that these absolutes do not acknowledge the role of specific circumstances, so you get things like not even killing a mass murderer in self-defense and defense of others, or Kant’s ridiculous problem of not even being able to say it’s okay to lie to Nazis to protect people they’re looking to murder. Likewise, the problems you raised are primarily issues of gray areas and people wanting to find a clear dividing line between them (making absolute rules like we’re so accustomed to work), and the solution, the only workable solution, is to get comfortable with gray areas. With the shift in identification and the feminist definition, for example, my reply is “Come on, we pretty much know when it is that someone has little to no experience with something, and when they have enough to call themselves experienced with it. There may be some space in between where they have partial experience, and there’s really no problem with putting it in those terms. Further, to say that cis women and trans women experience things differently is not to say that those experiences lack in similarities.” I’ll also point out that, even being a feminist myself, I consider TERFs — trans-exclusionary radical feminists — to be only better by the slimmest of margins, if at all, than the traditional patriarch rulers of society.

    Perhaps to further clarify where I’m coming from if you understand what is meant by the term, I am an anarchist. I seek the destruction of all hierarchies. Permanently. I’m essentially the ultimate anti-authoritarian in ideology, as are my fellow travelers under that name.

  • this has nothing to do with speech and everything to do with discrimination against a transgender student

  • bill braskey

    It’s a public school. The first amendment applies. A public school cannot compel speech. They clearly violated his 1st amendment rights.

  • koseighty

    And I can imagine, having been corrected, that I would argue the point or insist on seeing a driver’s license or anything. I’d be too embarrassed, falling all over myself apologizing.

  • Banrion

    They can’t compel his speech, but they do dictate his behavior. In this case refusing to address a child in his classroom respectfully is the behavior at issue.

  • Anat

    An employer can decide what speech is not acceptable on the job.

  • Anat

    In Washington state, when a student transitions the school is supposed to make a plan that is meant to integrate the student as their gender. And if a student changes their legal gender marker there is no question – they are their gender.

    See http://www.k12.wa.us/Equity/GenderIdentity/default.aspx

    Re: people being uncomfortable in locker rooms: If a student is uncomfortable with there being a transgender student in the locker room, the student who is uncomfortable can request greater privacy for themselves.

  • GOOD.

  • Rob McClintock

    Laws can be changed, and their interpretation can be challenged.

  • Oh, joy. Just what I needed this morning — transphobic JAQing off.

  • He doesn’t have the right to behave in a bigoted manner towards even a single child in his care.

  • Kay Pea

    If you really can’t manage using a person’s preferred pronouns and respecting that person as a human being, it’s fully possible to use that person’s name instead of any pronouns. Sentence structure doesn’t flow quite as well, but that’s not such a big deal. This case is deliberate, repeated bigotry, despite numerous opportunities for the teacher to improve his behaviour.

  • Kay Pea

    I teach at a public school in Canada. My provincial teaching license and my contract with my school board require I treat everyone with respect and that I do as I am asked to do by my superiors. If a teacher in my province were to deliberately misgender a student and fail to respond to requests to change this behaviour, that teacher would be unemployed, and would stand a very good chance of losing their teaching certificate.

    Do individuals have the right to free speech? Sure. People don’t have the right to hateful speech, which this situation very clearly is.

  • Rob McClintock

    The issue is part of a larger controversial issue about what being transgender means and what implications of that meaning are. Do you honestly believe that it really is cut and dried and that no one has any stake in questioning the validity of trans identity? That such people are just an easily defeated lunatic fringe? When there are powerful politicians and political movements wanting to define gender more precisely in a manner to their liking?

  • Rob McClintock

    I think that in this case, yes, the school and the board had a set of interpretations fpthst are pretty clear. What I’m pointing out is that that alone does not remove any moral ambiguity. For example,in the Scopes trial the school board, city and school according to this logic correctly fired a teacher for teaching evolutionary theory, yet we might argue that he correctly challenged the trend of education at the time. So I don’t agree that that alone gives moral support for an issue, it requires closer examination. Yes, I do agree that according to the law and also the school administrations policy they had the right to fire him, but labor law can be tricky and he may contest the situation. Without knowing all the details, he might even win, who knows.

  • Rob McClintock

    Well, who knows. I appreciate you taking the time to write out your thoughts on the matter. What I find almost makes me want to give up any inquiry is that I se articles from trans activists that say that there is no controversy, while some feminists say that there is. Frankly, I’m growing very tired of the kind of debate that doesn’t even agree on who said what. If I see, for instance, on YouTube and in the news disagreements on female only spaces but then trans supporters say those are marginal views that don’t affect feminists as a whole, it’s exasperating. Should I have to write a doctoral thesis just to have a conversation, or just take others opinions for fact? I am simply citing what I see.

    Literally all I am saying is that the issue is controversial and many people have a lot of stake in identity. Because there is a stake in it, people will fight for it, hopefully mostly with words and laws, but I know, sadly that some will turn to violence.

  • Rob McClintock

    While I appreciate all the time you took here, and especially the time you took to provide ideas about the trans point of view, with respect the main ting I was addressing is that trans identity is controversial as an issue and that society is grappling with it.

    When I refer to gender theory, for instance, I know quite well that there are a variety of approaches to feminism, but the issue over women’s inclusion, women only spaces and do on has, I believe, remained contentious in some circles. So, for instance, radicals especially may be dubious about inclusion of trans women.

    Law works like this also, it works by a combination of legislation, common law and statutory law. Which means it can be interpreted, challenged, and changed. If we consider it, at one time nearly all law in Canada and the US was determined through the lens of Christianity, and that has changed to reflect support for human rights law. That doesn’t mean that that cannot change.

    So ultimately what I mean is that the teacher is not just some jerk. He is someone with an opposing viewpoint. It’s more, in my opinion, than a name that is at stake for such people. You pointed out that this is mostly about oneself, but I don’t agree. With what you call cud people, it acyally carries a lot of assumptions.

    I’m quite aware that these assumptions are being challenged, but not as much as some activists may think. There is, to my way of thinking, a lot of haste and little thought often put into these shits, and I suspect that that’s because we put little thought into the assumptions too. Just think of, for instance, how so many people assume that the #Metoo movement is largely about protecting women from men, look at the language that frames most speeches about it. Now I am not saying that this is right, I am talking about popular thinking and language and how it shapes how people think and react.

    Please bear in mind: I am not looking for excuses to be unfair to transgender people. I find them puzzling, but I see transgender people as human beings with rights of care first. I assume that they have feelings like mine and have hopes and fears as I do. I assume they want to work at jobs they are qualify and enjoy meaningful relationships.

  • Rob McClintock

    Who, me? Did I say trans people didn’t deserve rights? Hardly, I said it was controversial because it is.

  • Rob McClintock

    Yes, and the teacher believes that he is morally correct. The school and school board does not. But it falls within a larger issue of identity and how we treat people of a particular identity, which is controversial in our society, and which in spite of the law has not found consensus on yet. And the law could be overturned by legislation.

  • All the “controversy” is just cis fuckery. Trans people have existed since the dawn of humanity, and were accepted in many societies.

  • Rob McClintock

    There are people who regard that as unfair and challenge the notion that a female only space can be reached in such a way.

  • Rob McClintock

    At the end of the day, if the larger part of the population, its vast majority, are dubious about trans rights, then you still have enormous legal and cultural challenges to face. You cannot just wish them away. Rights, in order to be stronger, have to be deeply embedded to become harder to challenge. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Anat

    This has been the law in Washington state for several years now. There were some who sought to change this by ballot initiative and so far they have failed to gather enough signatures to get their proposed initiative on the ballot for 2 years in a row, this year they did not file. The sky has yet to fall. BTW the group opposing the current law was previously a group that opposed marriage equality. Once Washington passed marriage equality by ballot initiative they were looking for a new cause. But their cause has very little support in Washington.

    You know what is unfair? To be excluded from spaces for being transgender.

  • Those same people are the ones who insist on taking male children into female-only spaces because “safety”.

    If you’re going to declare a penis-free zone — which is what these nutters want — it has to apply to ALL penises, not just those icky grown up ones or those scary transwomen’s. Which means no more taking your little boys into the ladies restroom, locker room, or other gender-segregated facility.

    What’ll it be, then?

    Because I really don’t care who’s got what in their trousers, so long as they’re not trying to prey on me or invade my trousers.

    (Why are you cisgendered people so hung up on genitals?!)

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    and that behavior would put you in the wrong, your embarrassment is not an excuse to harass some one else. Not saying i don’t sympathies with feeling that way, i am sure we have all argued a point long past rationality because we don’t want to accept we where wrong.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    the Scopes trial was all about challenging a divisive law, and they lost, the law was only changed afterwards and the teacher was still sacked. This feels very similar, this guy set up a situation to challenge what he saw as an incorrect rule, and found out that not only was the rule against him out so was popular opinion, so there was no reason for the rule to be challenged.

    I am making no comment as to the morality of what they did, as i said before the topic is a very hard one to judge on moral grounds as both sides make some good and bad arguments. as this is such a s thorny issue all that can be done is judge on a case by case basis until we get to a stable footing.

  • Rob McClintock

    Exactly very similar. So in this case the school weighed in favour of the student. What troubles me is that we can see how different regions may weigh differently depending on the ideals of lawmakers and how that affects administrations. As you say, a stable footing is lacking.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    From a speech point of view i think it is pretty simple, if x wants to be called she and her then call them that, just the same as if they want to be called Chris not Christopher, to do otherwise is rude and, for a person in a position of power, potentially harassment, a boss who insisted calling you by an incorrect name would clearly be in breach of most HR policies. The problem is that people are trying to solve a big complex problem in one go, rather than taking elements that can be resolved (calling people what they want to be called) and doing that and using those solutions to inform the more thorny bits(bathroom access and joining sports teams). trouble is rather than attempting to find a workable compromise too many on both sides have an all or nothing approach, which leaves the actually effected individuals twisting in the wind and the authorities unsure on where they stand.

  • Rob McClintock

    You make a very good point here, and I think that it is difficult to refute. I suspect that for some religious people it seems like a slippery slope though. For me it may seem simplistic but I think that one issue easily solved is the issue of violence and harassment. Focus on principles instead of statistics. If it is wrong to inflict domestic violence, it’s wrong for everyone, along with harassment, as one set of examples. Start shifting language to be generally more inclusive. If we want everyone to generally care about children, focus less on women as natural nurturers and more on how we should all care in our own ways for those smaller and less experienced. I think overwhelmingly being inclusive is the key. That way we focus on how to encourage the best in all of us and ideally that encourages focusing on people’s character rather than on how they look.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    no argument from me, at the end of the day the best solution to most of these issues is education and inclusiveness, i realize that people effected want change now, and that pressure is helpful in keeping the issue live, but legislative changes are always going to be open to attack and abuse, i know it sounds a little bit old school hippy, but cant we all just learn to get along 🙂 as i have said before, there are legitimate arguments and grievances on both sides of the transgender rights issue. They will only be resolved when we, as a society, can have a real grown up conversation about it, rather than stomping off to the courts at the drop of a hat, it’s like raising my kids, i would much rather they resolve their conflicts themselves rather than have to get me involved all the time, that way i am not making a decisions, in the moment, that i may want to change later and the solutions are more likely to stick because both parties have agreed on them.

  • Anri

    I think this case is clear cut, yes, which is why I made the specific point I did in my last two paragraphs. Are you disagreeing with that?
    I frankly can’t tell.

    Do you honestly believe that it really is cut and dried and that no one has any stake in questioning the validity of trans identity?

    Could you be a bit more specific about how you think this goes? Someone says they are trans, you question the validity of their assertion.. .how? (Assuming you’re not their medical professional, of course, which you’re presumably not going to be in all cases.)

    That such people are just an easily defeated lunatic fringe?

    No, from what I’ve seen, they’re mainstream bigots for the most part. That doesn’t make them any less wrong.

    When there are powerful politicians and political movements wanting to define gender more precisely in a manner to their liking?

    Is this a “good people on both sides!” argument?
    Because I would tend to say that one group is altering the definition of gender to match what we’re finding is the actual case – kinda like when we altered the definition of “planet” from “little point of light that moves through the sky” and went with “other world that orbits a star” – and their opposition is trying to make sure gender stays defined as what they were taught when they were grade-schoolers regardless of who it hurts.

    I also can’t help but notice you didn’t actual address the main point of my post, which was evidence for all of these supposed ills transgenderism brings with it – the links to the girls’ gym classes refusing to dress out due to trans students, the bathroom and changing room assaults.
    I wonder why that is.

  • Foxglove

    So ultimately what I mean is that the teacher is not just some jerk. He is someone with an opposing viewpoint.

    Sorry, Rob, but this isn’t going to work. Now this is how our opponents want to frame the question: transgenderism is a society-wide debate. They have their point of view, we have our point of view, and both views are valid and to be respected. And if we don’t respect their point of view, we’re being intolerant and unreasonable. And that’s simply not the way it is.

    Firstly, our opponents don’t actually understand what transgenderism is. E.g., as you said above, “If Donald Trump were to declare himself a woman . . .” This is the sort of thing we hear all the time, and it’s that sort of thing that indicates that our opponents don’t understand what transgenderism is. And just recently I had a fellow tell me (unbelievably) that transgenderism is a choice–and he had all sorts of arguments to support his view. And you try and tell him to simply ask transpeople whether it’s a choice, and you try and tell him that if transgenderism were a choice, there wouldn’t actually be any such thing as transgenderism, you won’t get through to him.

    But our opponents claim that they have the right to hold their opinion as to what transgenderism is. It’s not an argument. Either you know what it is or you don’t. I’ve been transgender for 60+ years, and the notion that some cisgender person can have an opinion on the matter that’s equal to mine is ludicrous. It would be like me claiming to have the right to express an opinion on super-string theory. I don’t know the physics and I don’t know the math, so what I might have to say on the matter is useless.

    And let’s get a bit of historical perspective here: the Theodosian Code, going back to around 400 CE, attacked gay people. This is to say that as soon as Christians gained political power in the West, they started attacking the rights and freedom of LGBT people. They’ve been at it now for 1600 years or so, and lots of them are still at it. This teacher is merely one more in a long, long line of Christians who simply don’t like LGBT people and (with God’s approval) want to erase us. Yes, he is a jerk, to put it mildly.

    But suppose he were guilty of using racial epithets towards his minority students, or suppose he was constantly mocking the beliefs of students of other religions, or suppose he was constantly denigrating girls because they’re girls. Would you and I even be having this conversation? But when he’s showing disrespect to a transgender student, we want to say that he simply has “an opposing viewpoint”. If he sees members of other races as beneath him, do we call that “an opposing viewpoint”, or do we call it what it is–bigotry? And if he were constantly engaged in that sort of behavior towards other groups, would anybody really try to defend his right to hold onto his job? But somehow, when it’s a transgender student, that’s different.

    . . . with respect the main thing I was addressing is that trans identity is controversial as an issue and that society is grappling with it.

    And sorry, but this as well fails to recognize the situation for what it is. Why is trans identity controversial? Only because people who don’t know what it is argue with us when we try to explain it to them. Trans identity is actually quite simple, and people could cop onto it if they wanted to. But they don’t want to because they don’t like it.

    And sorry, but if society is grappling with this issue, that’s their fault, not ours. We transpeople have been around forever, in all times and in all cultures, and if society still doesn’t know how to deal with us, well, they’re just pretty damn slow. How much more time are they going to need?

    And in any case, this isn’t a problem that society needs to grapple with. We transpeople aren’t actually a problem. It’s cisgender society that has created the problem by deciding that we’re a problem. Do you want to put an end to this problem? Then just decide that it’s not actually a problem.

    That’s what was done here in Ireland three years ago. Our Gender Recognition Act recognized trans people as trans and recognized our right to live as we please. Basically, the law said, “Trans people, do what you like. Just try not to be a pain in the ass.”

    If you want to change your legally recognized gender, you simply fill out a little application form that doesn’t require more than two minutes, get it notarized by a lawyer and send it off to the relevant government office. Within two weeks, you’ll have your “Gender Recognition Certificate.” And that’s it. That’s absolutely all there is to it. And it hasn’t caused any problems for anybody. There haven’t been any stories in the news about trans people running amok and causing problems for people. Irish society hasn’t collapsed. Life goes on.

    That’s the way it is for me in the tiny little town I live in. People know me, and people have no problem with me. I simply go about my business and they go about theirs. Nobody has had to make any changes to their life on my account. And it is offensive to suggest that I’m some sort of problem. I’m all grown up, and I know how to behave myself and respect other people’s rights and privacy. And I get on fine in this town.

    There is no problem, except when assholes like this teacher decide to create one. Transgender people are not the problem. It’s certain cisgender people who are the problem. They want to erase us, disrespect us, deny us the right to live our lives. We’re not doing that to them. They’re doing it to us. They’re the problem, not us. It’s this teacher who’s causing trouble, not the student.

    And finally, Rob, this notion of “women only spaces”, this is a smokescreen. It’s a red herring. It’s bullshit. Consider: when Pat McCrory was having a go at transgender rights a while back, it was framed as a question about restrooms. In fact, McCrory was pushing against transgender rights in hotels, restaurants, taxis, and so on. It’s not just restrooms they want to bar us from. They want to bar us from everywhere. This particular story didn’t have anything to do with restrooms. It had to do with a classroom. Our opponents don’t like us there, either.

    And consider the fact also that at the same time that McCrory was having a go at trans people in restrooms, he was also supporting Donald Trump for president, a man who openly bragged about invading women’s dressing rooms specifically to ogle the women when they were in a state of undress. McCrory wasn’t the only one taking this line. Lots and lots of Trump supporters did as well. They don’t actually care about women-only spaces and they don’t actually care about women. Transpeople in restrooms is simply a convenient argument, one they can use to scare people and stir up their emotions. It isn’t about women-only spaces. It’s about everywhere we want or need to be.

    It’s more, in my opinion, than a name that is at stake for such people.

    Exactly. It’s not just about names and pronouns. It’s about our right to live our lives. This teacher has an “opposing viewpoint”? Yes. His viewpoint is that we should be erased and prevented from living our lives. When you’re talking about “opposing viewpoints”, that’s what you’re talking about. We’re not talking about their understanding of transgenderism. We’re talking about their desire to erase us and prevent us from living our lives. This isn’t some kind of debate. It’s a fight. They’ve erased us for many centuries, and now we’re telling them they’re not going to do that to us any more. It’s that simple.

    And they can dress up their arguments in any guise they like, and they can talk about their religious views and their religious freedom, etc., etc. But it’s all bullshit. They don’t like us, they’ve long erased us and they want to continue to erase us. And we’re telling them they’re not going to do that to us anymore. It’s that simple.

  • koseighty

    Thank you for your comment. It helped me see a typo in mine. Corrected.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    that makes more sense.

  • ” there are legitimate arguments and grievances on both sides of the transgender rights issue.”

    No, there are not.

    There are legitimate arguments and grievances from trans people.

    And there are bigots using their children as a weapon against us.

  • StevoR

    I really love the parable of the Samaritan and I also really love Isaac Asimov’s essay about it “Lost in Non-translation” which went into a lot of the contextual backdrop about it – & also Ruth’s idyll with Boaz that eventually led to the birth of King David and later Jesus. Asimov pointed out there :

    “The trouble is that the one word that is NOT translated in the Book of Ruth is the key word “Moabite,” and as long as it is not translated, the point is lost, it is lost in non-translation.

    The word Moabite [from Ruth’s tale – it also applies for the word Samaritan -ed.] really means “someone of a group that receives from us and deserves from us nothing but hatred and contempt.” How should this word be translated into a single word that means the same thing to, say, many modern Greeks? Why, “Turk.” And to many modern Turks? Why, “Greek.”

    … We forget the point of the parable is entirely vitiated by the common phrase “good” Samaritan for that has cast a false light on who the Samaritans were. . . To the Jews [of Jesus’ time – ed.] the Samaritans were not good. They were hated, despised, contemptible heretics with whom no good Jew would have anything to do. Again, the whole point is lost through non-translation.

    …The Parable of the Good Samaritan clearly teaches that there is nothing parochial in the concept “neighbour,” that you cannot confine your decency to your own group and your own kind. All mankind, right down to those you most despise are your neighbours.”

    – Pages 266-270 Isaac Asimov, “Lost in Non-translation” in ‘Magic’ anthology Harper-Collins, 1996.

    I love that essay and those paragraphs & I couldn’t agree more.

  • StevoR

    Zombie Jeebus needz braaaaaiinzzz!!!

  • StevoR

    He stated outright that he refused to use it.

    Seems he may have once tried to claim it was a single slip up but then continued and hardened his position of being an utter douchecanoe. Maybe Gawd “hardened” his heart like he did Pharaohs?

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    I respectfully disagree. there are lots of cases of bigots being bigots but there are plenty of legitimate concerns over very young transgender expression and the how some of the demands of transgender activists effect other discriminated groups (women to be specific). I agree this case is very cut and dried but others are not, I am not trying to start an argument but extreme positions are dangerous no matter what side you are taking.

  • Spirit Plumber

    Wonder if there’s a story of a “good Darcsen” in the Valkyria Chronicles universe.

  • “how some of the demands of transgender activists effect other discriminated groups (women to be specific). ”

    Again, FALSEHOODS spread by TERFs, not legitimate concerns.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    Sorry, we disagree, the people you label as TERFs, are people most of the rest of the world recognize as some of the most dedicated and foremost feminist thinkers, people who literally wrote the book on feminism and being subjugated by the patriarchy, they raise very legitimate questions. These questions need to be addressed not dismissed with snarl words and thought stopping. This is why this whole complex mess needs to be worked through, not camps formed that refuse to talk to each other. You are dismissing the concerns of others because they don’t align with your current goals, I thought that was what we are trying to fight against here?

    I believe that people should be able to express any ‘gender’ they wish, and that constricted gender roles are harmful to everyone, i also believe that, not matter how much you change your external appearance you cannot change your biological sex, and that sex and gender, while linked by culture and tradition are not the same thing to any degree. Use what ever pronouns you like, change your name live how you want, all that is fine, but a male who wants to wear dresses and be treated by the world as a woman is still a male, and that is just fine and those choices should be celebrated and respected, and i support anyone who wants to live anyway they want. the blurring of the distinction between sex and gender seems to be at the heart of this issue and that would appear to be the first thing that needs to be resolved before any progress can be made.

    I know you think that all the people who disagree with you are bigots, they are not, and that accusation does not help resolve the problem. I am not counselling living with the status quo, clearly there are things that can and should be changed, but i am also suggesting that some of these issues are deserving of more consideration.

    I don’t think this is correct venue for an extended conversation, I respect your passion and desire to see those who are being downtrodden protected and respected as all people deserve to be, but like many things in life, this situation is more complicated than just smashing the current system and hoping that only the bad people get hurt in the fall out.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Still ain’t got any response from the management about making a blog of my own ): If you have any suggestions, please pass on (:

  • I’m sorry! I don’t know beyond emailing what else to do :/ I wish I knew more! But we still adore you and appreciate you here.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Guess I will just hang out, and make peeps thinkies (;

  • If they’re trans-exclusive, they’re not feminists.

  • Anat

    Plenty of women’s organizations support equal transgender rights. Planned Parenthood supports equal transgender rights. As long as women-specific spaces exist transgender women belong in them. People who don’t like this situations can find solutions for themselves, it is not up to transgender women to bear their burden. ‘Biological sex’ has no place in human social affairs. It is only relevant to the extent it is informative in medical situations.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    Ok, i am going to stop here because i am afraid you are starting to sound as dogmatic and uninterested in other points of view as the fundies that i usually find myself arguing with and i don’t want this conversation to go the way those usually do, we disagree on some points, and agree on far more.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    i have never said they don’t, (also plenty have reservations so it’s not like i am right out on a limb here) I have also never said that the issue of transgender rights is settled and that everyone should just live with how it is, what i am saying is that feminists have fought long and hard for the rights of women and it is no more fair to ask them to surrender their hard fought victories than it is to tell transgender people to live with the current situation. There is plenty of space for more dialogue and understanding from both sides.

    It is not as clear cut as many transgender rights advocates like to make out, this is not the same as black civil rights where there was a clear oppressor and oppressed, here you have two oppressed groups and a significant amount of one of them truly feels like the other is trying to make grounds at their expense. How do you think that black civil rights leaders would feel if another minority group started demanding space in their newly acquired safe spaces? I am not saying that transgender people should not be afforded the same respect and dignity as other people, of course they should, transgender rights activists should be learning from the work done by other civil rights activists so they can secure their own freedoms from the patriarchy.

    I am sorry but i disagree, biological sex has a lot to do with social interactions specifically personal ones, you have to respect other peoples right to have preferences in there choice of partner and how they choose to conduct their personal affairs if you want them to respect yours, it is a two way street.

    Again i realize this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, and i really don’t want to spend a lot of time arguing with people that i find myself agreeing with on so much else ( and even on the majority of this topic). I am not asking anyone to ‘just live with it’ but i do feel that it is important to raise other, reasonable, points of view to stop this place just becoming as much of an echo chamber as the fundy sites.

    As i have said, on the current OP topic it is clear that the teacher was in the wrong.

  • Anat

    Transgender women are doubly oppressed, both as transgender people and as women. They get to share spaces with cisgender women because they share the oppression that makes a space-for-women needed. Cisgender women are not being asked to surrender their hard-fought victories any more than white feminists were surrendering anything when they faced demands to include non-white women and address the needs of women who were not white.

    Similarly with the race equivalent, we have the term POC to include all people oppressed over their race, and spaces for POC.

  • lady_black

    There are not “larger social issues.” If you decided to call me something other than what I tell you I am, we’re going to have problems, and THAT’S the social issue. Every PERSON should be treated with the respect every other person is treated with.
    If someone is corrected, the proper response is “I’m sorry. I won’t do that again.” Years ago, I was helping as an escort with my son’s class trip to the zoo. In spite of filling out many forms with my name on it, someone made a name tag for me that read “Mrs. (Former Married Name)” I said I will NOT wear that tag, because I don’t want anyone calling me that. Can you imagine anyone having the nerve to insist that I wear it, and be addressed by a dead name because they “don’t believe in” divorce and remarriage? I can’t.
    So, do not do that to others, either. You have no such rights, and neither does “society” as a whole, and I don’t care what they’re grappling with. Either you treat others respectfully, or you are an asshole. It’s that simple.

  • Oh, yes, so “dogmatic” to insist on full social and legal equality, and to be treated as the gender you are. Fuck, THIS is why trans people are fed up with alleged “feminists”. And no, I’m not interested in points of view that paint me as a predator.

  • Fine. Name one LEGITIMATE concern cis people have.

  • Rob McClintock

    A lot of you are being pretty unprincipled and hypocritical about this. If rule of law said trans people were delusional and had to be what they appeared generally to be you would no doubt , as was done in the past, resist such a law. So it’s not simply an issue of rule of law except when it suits you.

    Second, it’s not merely a matter of courtesy either. Most of you are very quick to speak insultingly about other people if they displease you, so courtesy is not something you adhere to no matter what. You’re courteous when you decide it is suitable.

    Third, identity is important, or you would not seek to hold an identity that others may be skeptical of.

    When I point out the social issues in question, which have been raised, and which were for example fiercely debated when Bill C-16 was reviewed by the Canadian Senate, nearly all of you are lying and pretending it is not contenious. That’s silly. Say all you want to that you strongly support trans rights and in what way. If you passionately believe that you are right to do so. But don’t pretend that society in general is not divided and arguing about what all this means. If you want to win people over, get used to answering and being asked questions. Try not to treat everyone who doesn’t bow and scrape before trans identity as an enemy. If you cannot handle political realities, get out of political issues.

    Finaly, I point out this: if you only want to talk about these issues with people who agree with you, you will eventually find increasing numbers of people unsympathetic with you. You will find people won’t vote to support you. You will find the increase of populist politics turning against you. This would be very unfortunate because I think human rights are very important, and you could probably use much more intelligent tactics than just being self righteous and relying on rule of law. But up to all of you, you can choose your politics as you please.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    I agree they are oppressed, similar to women, the fact of male violence means both groups requires safe spaces, the issue at hand is that many women, subject to the violence of men, do not want to share that space with people who where raised and lived as men, regardless of how wrong they felt, that social upbringing engenders patterns of behavior that are near impossible to avoid. and why should a vulnerable woman be asked to shoulder that risk? Transwomen share some issues with the women but also have issues which are unique to their own situation, it’s almost like lumping together two groups that have some similarities and some differences might cause issues.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    you are replying to carefully stated arguments with snarl words and single line dismissals, you are refusing to engage in any of the points raised, that is what is giving the impression of a dogmatic fundamentalist. Look back at any number of my conversations with the religious bigots and your responses start to look a lot like theirs.

    You know what, i don’t like that there are plenty of people out there that paint all men as violent predators, however i don’t just dismiss their arguments because i don’t like them, particularly when they are coming from people who it has demonstrably effected, and there are plenty of reasons why it is a legitimate concern (if not justified in every case). Look at it from this point of view, the vast amount of the issues that trans women have is with men, and yet it is not men who being asked to make allowances and changes, it is women, if this was something less personal to you would you consider that reasonable?

    As to painting you as a predator, i am sorry that you feel that way, but at the same time the law changes that are being requested would allow actual predators to access vulnerable women, or at least make it a lot easier, what makes your rights to a safe and happy life more important than theirs?

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    forcing womens shelters to accept transwomen as workers or residents. Not only is that remarkably unfair to vulnerable women who want no reminder of male violence, and are most likely not in a good place to be particularly rational about it, it also opens to the door to actual predatory men to gain access to vulnerable women, and please don’t pretend there are not scumbags out there who would do exactly that.

    Like i have said before, this is a highly complex issue, some things are easy, from the OP clearly that has harassment and deserved punishment, other things are not so cut and dried, and refusing to acknowledge the concerns of others, who have already faced many of these issues personally, is not going to result in anything good.

  • Ha ha ha ha you think that’s “legitimate”?

    This argument relies on the idea that transwomen are “not really women” or “just men trying to infiltrate women’s spaces”, and therefore it’s okay to exclude a class of women who suffer even more abuse than ciswomen, because oh no, some cisgendered snowflake might be uncomfortable.

    Try again.

  • You are telling me and others to accept bigotry and discrimination because ciswomen might be slightly uncomfortable.

    You deserve far more anger than I’ve directed your way.

    Take your cis fuckery and leave.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    the fact you don’t like that argument does not make it ‘illagetimate’ and your response shows a staggering lack of concern for vulnerable women. I guess all those beaten women should just get over it for your benefit? I wasn’t aware that there was some kind of abuse competition? exactly how are you scoring that. and there you go with the snarl words again. yet again making you look like a fundy.

    try again

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    Well nice to see your reading comprehension is up to the usual religious bigots levels.

    if you can’t have proper conversation just admit that and walk away. I am not saying your position is totally invalid i am saying you are a piss poor proponent of it

  • It’s illegitimate because it’s inherently arguing that trans women aren’t “real” women.

    I don’t know how much simpler I can make that.

    It’s transphobic af, and I’m not the only one here who’s tried to explain this to you.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    I know this is going to piss you off but that is exactly the point. not all people agree with your position that trans women are women, and not becuase they are transphobic bigots, becuase they have not been convinced and whether you like it or not the arguments against that position are not as empty as you want to suggest, dismissing them the way you do makes you look like some one defending a point of faith not a person arguing a point.

    for clarity, that does not mean trans people are just making it up, or are not an oppressed group, and deserve an equal measure of repect as people.

    Even if I accept you premis.the consequences of what you are demanding still need to be considered and the rights of battered women(using the current defitions) do need to be considered, again unless your opinion is fuck everyone else I want what i want.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    also, as an asidetbis was the first time you tried to explain anything, you have told me I am wrong and expected me to just accept that. that approach did not work with religion why do you think it will work here?

  • No, I explained. Others explained. You refused to listen, and kept insisting that trans women aren’t “woman enough” to be treated legally and socially as women, and you tried to use battered women to justify it.

    If someone identifies, presents, and lives as a woman, they are a woman. End of.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    and as I have explained that is your opinion, not one shared by all the people who have given this issue careful consideration. I get you don’t like it but your likes neither dictate society or reality.

    barking snarl words and thought stopping is not explaining. and no I not tone trolling. explanation requires relating information. something you have single failed to do

    and I am using the legitimate concerns of battered women as a counter point to your arguments. again the fact you have such scant regard for them does not make your arguments anymore convincing, and shows a disturbing lack of empathy for a group of people you claim to be part of regardless of your position surely that should give you pause.

  • No, you are weaponizing battered women to attack trans women.

    You don’t get that a lot of battered women ARE trans.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    I am not weaponizing anything, you are not addressing the issue, you are attempting to ignore it, you are again attempting to use thought stopping technique, in this case attempting to make me back off as you are accusing me of something bad. this is the whole problem with how you are approaching this issue, i know it is personal and important to you, and your passion is clear, but you don’t get to just tell me that your opinion is correct and expect me to just kowtow and accept it, again, that is the approach of the fundy. I come to these places for dialogue, not to listen to monologue that i am supposed to just nod along to.

    To put it bluntly, you are correct as a gender conforming straight male, this issue does not effect me personally, but as a husband and father of daughters, this issue will almost certainly effect them, so i do have a dog in the hunt. However also, as a gender conforming straight male, i am not nearly as emotionally attached as you are, that means that i require a reason, other than emotion, to concede your points. and frankly the arguments coming from the other side (not the bigots, the women and feminists that you dismiss so casually) are more convincing because they are actually making arguments not just demanding that their position be accepted. to go back to the black civil rights movement, there is a lot angry rhetoric, but also a lot of very solid argumentation and reason that forced people not emotionally involved to take the movement seriously. Yes bigots are going to bigot, but that is not your target audience, they are going to have to be pushed no matter what, you need to get the unemotional uninvolved on your side and this tactic is not going to do that.

    I am aware that levels of abuse aimed at trans individuals is high, but simply the numbers involved means that the number of battered women will massively outnumber the number of battered trans women. you are talking about 50% of the population vs a population of approximately 700,000 (for the uk), there where 1.9 million reported instances of domestic abuse in 2017. unless you want to suggest that every trans women is the subject of abuse, (and the reports are nothing like that) then you really need to consider what you mean by a lot. And i have never denied that trans women deserve to have safe spaces and places where they can go to escape the threat of male violence, i am just saying that women deserve those spaces too, and those spaces do not, and probably should not, have to be the same places. Just as an exercise imagine that a significant proportion of the violence against trans people was from women, there are shelters that will only accept trans people, and yet women are demanding access to those spaces. would you support that?

    And finally you have singularly failed to address the issue of real predators taking advantage of these proposed changes to laws to get at vulnerable women (and if the changes happened trans women). That is a very real world problem that needs to be addressed, forcing these spaces to accept trans women only to then have them no longer be safe spaces is very much cutting your nose to spite your face. As i have said before you cant just burn down the existing system and hope that only bad people get hurt, because it is far more likely that good people will suffer.