Texas rushed to pass a bill on Sunday evening that is nothing short of outright discrimination against trans children. After a heated and emotional debate, they passed the bill by a vote of 94-50.
The amendment added to this bill that specifically targets trans students is being called a “common sense” solution. A solution that ensures “…privacy and security for all students and respecting the dignity of all students” (Grover Campbell, 2017). The new amendment forces public school districts and charter schools to require students to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities that align with their gender at birth, rather than their identified gender. Or they may opt to use segregated “single-occupancy facilities”. Representative Chris Paddie, the author of this amendment, agrees that stats on trans kids are alarming, and insists that his amendment, forcing them to segregate or out themselves in school, will fix this problem.
— Lauren McGaughy (@lmcgaughy) May 22, 2017
I spend a lot of time thinking about gender identity and about the safety of my child in public restrooms and have even attended several school board meetings where a discriminatory policy has been up for vote. People’s concerns tend to be about the comfort of cis students, but being uncomfortable is not the same as being unsafe. There are no incidences of a trans student harassing or attacking another student. No incidences of a trans student being inappropriate towards their classmates in the bathroom at all. There are not even any incidences of a cis student, male or female, using a supportive bathroom policy to take advantage of a situation and use a facility of a gender they do not identify as.
I am ashamed to be a part of these United States today. Ashamed to be a citizen of a country that allows any state to make such discriminatory laws, that will surely drive too many young people to depression and suicide. Schools should be at the frontlines of supporting and protecting students, all students. Schools should be at the frontlines building allies in classmates, teaching children that gender identity takes place in your head and not between your legs. Teaching female identified students to be empowered, to have autonomy over their bodies, to have the same rights as any male identified student. Teaching male identified students that they have control of their bodies and of their actions, and when they choose to exert that control at another’s expense, there are serious and severe consequences.
Schools should be a haven, a safe space, a place for children to flourish and learn, without fear of harm and discrimination. Lawmakers in Texas have stripped their children of that, all of their children, not just trans or gender non-binary students. They have stripped their children of rights and equality, and they set a terrible example of how adults can abuse power.
Texas isn’t the only state gearing up to restrict bathroom access or to limit students’ rights, they’re simply the first. This is the beginning of a very long and ugly battle. A battle that requires the support of everyone, not just parents of trans kids. The louder we are, the more they will listen. The angrier we get, the more things will change.
Get loud. Get angry. Because if they take down my kid, they’ll go after yours next.
Not in my state. Not in your state. Not in ANY state.
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