7 Years of the Silence: Fighting for Transgender Rights in Schools and Schools (Irregularities in a Crowded World)
What I experienced seven years ago was not an isolated case. To this day, transgender children no older than I was, and some who are even younger, are being bullied by school systems that are supposed to protect and nurture them, sacrificed in a culture war fabricated by a theocratic Republican party which insists on spouting unfounded claims about transgender students. One of the biggest myths is that trans people have an increased risk of sexual assault in bathroom if they can use facilities with their gender listed on them.
I had become the agenda item and the subject of headlines not just in my hometown, but across the country. At the school board meeting, the parents of kids I grew up with used to call me a freak and discuss my privates in public. That is how much hate they were willing to use against a child.
My activism led me to write a children’s book about my fight for equality and freedom. I hope that even though they don’t have a loving parent like I did, they will see themselves reflected in its pages.
There are only about 300,000 transgender youth in America and yet, as Republicans obsess over these childrens’ bodies, bomb threats are directed against hospitals and schools. Parents are being reported for child abuse for supporting and loving their children. This assault is being launched on every front.
Even as a high school student, I saw that threats to the lives of trans Americans had reached a dangerous tipping point. I had never wanted to be an activist. I was just a kid. It felt like the task of spreading awareness was down to me, as the community had been pushed to the margins.
These treatments, that have allowed me and other transgender people to become the people we were intended to, have been studied and peer reviewed and are best practices developed by the American Medical Association, American Association of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, the Endocrine Society and other leading health organizations.
Across the country, they are being banned, challenged or indefinitely delayed, while people are put through a series of hoops and hurdles before getting access to treatment.
In the end my willingness to fight for my rights lead to my suing the Board of Education in Gloucester County for denying me access to the boys’ restrooms at my school. I was forced to use the nurse’s office bathroom after Gloucester High School insisted that I use the girls’ bathroom.
After wending its way through the system for four years, the courts ruled the school board was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX of the US Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law barring schools from sex discrimination.
Or so I had hoped. Policies wereadopted across the Fourth Circuit in order to respond to social change, the courts’ decisions, as well as the outcome of my case.
The Virginia Transgender Girls’ Fairness Project: Comment on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Proposed Ruleline on Physical and Mental Health in the Classroom
Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who ran on a platform that included attacks against marginalized communities, was elected Governor of Virginia last year.
The guidelines would only allow the students to use their preferred names, pronouns and facilities if a parent requests so in writing. The measure does not contain any requirement that schools approve such requests. Children who aren’t out to their parents for safety reasons or whose parents aren’t supportive are excluded.
There is language in Virginia’s model policy that allows schools to go beyond guidelines if they choose, but it only applies to the school board.
It seems as if Gov. Youngkin is willing to reject not only established federal and state law, but also guidance and best practices from leading authorities on the physical and mental health of children and young adults. It’s my opinion that the real goal of the Youngkin administration is to gain the support of his base by scapegoating a minority already under duress, and it’s my belief that he’s trying to do that.
He may succeed in that, but his gains will be temporary. A few weeks ago, thousands of students across Virginia walked out of school to protest Youngkin’s proposed restrictions on trans students. Protests are continuing against this unjust proposed policy. The community is still going strong.
Transgender athletes’ ability to compete in sports is the subject of a continuing national debate. Over a dozen states have enacted laws banning or limiting their participation because of the theory that they have an unfair competitive advantage.
The American Civil Liberties Union and its West Virginia chapter filed the lawsuit in 2021 on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl who hoped to compete in middle school cross-country in Harrison County. The state and county boards of education were named in the lawsuit.
“This is not only about simple biology, but fairness for women’s sports, plain and simple,” the attorney general said. “Opportunities for girls and women on the field are precious and we must safeguard that future.”
“The legislature’s definition of a girl as being based on ‘biological sex’ is very important to the government’s effort to provide more athletic opportunities for females,” said Goodwin.
In his Thursday decision, he said the plaintiff, “like all transgender people, deserves respect and the ability to live free from judgment and hatred for simply being who she is.” But he did not find sufficient evidence that lawmakers passed the legislation with harmful intent.
A group of demonstrators gathered outside the NCAA Convention in San Antonio to protest against the inclusion of trans athletes in women’s college sports.
Defending Transgender Identity in a Games at the Long Trail School in West Virginia, and a U.S. Supreme Court Decision
The court would not have had reason to weigh in on the issue if the legislature had not done so. The judge stated that he must do so now.
A 2017 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law used state-level, population-based surveys to estimate that West Virginia had the highest percentage (1.04%) of residents ages 13 to 17 among all states who identified as transgender. That would be about 1,250 teens.
The Mid Vermont Christian School forfeited its game against the Long Trail School because of a trans player on the Long Trail School roster.
Fogg said that they withdrew from the tournament because they thought playing against an opponent with a biologically male player would endanger the players’ safety.
The factors that go into determining the sex listed on a birth certificate may include anatomy, genetics and hormones, and there is broad natural variation in each of these categories.
A National Survey on Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Trans people’s mental health found that almost half of them seriously considered suicide in the year prior to the study.