I as a student of UConn I felt that the editorial deserved a response to present an opposing view. However, they chose not to publish it so I will publish here even though I would have liked to express it in the newspaper where it could be read by those who read the article.
This is what I found troublesome…
California Wrongly Redefines Gender
“As a result of the law, instead of basing gender identity on purely biological means, the words "mom," "dad," "parent" and the plurals of each have been banned from official school communications because "they enforce traditional gender stereotypes." Biologically, however, every sexually reproducing organism has a mother and a father. These words have nothing to do with the domestic or workplace actions of the people they describe, simply their responsibility for the life they created.”. . . . .
The problems with this should be blatantly obvious, but in case they are not, the law tells all teenage boys that it is OK to use the girls' locker rooms and bathrooms as long as the boys tell school administrators that they are, in fact, transgendered. In addition, there is no way to prevent this from happening. Should a school administrator attempt to stop a student identifying as female from entering the girls' locker room, the student is, under law, allowed to file a discrimination lawsuit and sue the school district. In addition, teachers are not allowed to monitor locker rooms for fear of sexual harassment lawsuits….. . . . .
GLBT students should be able to walk the halls of their schools free from discrimination and intimidation, but to allow students unfettered access without specific regulations is ridiculous. As of now, there is no concrete way to identify which students are transgender and which ones are not. In order to determine whether a student is transgender, school officials must rely on that student's vocalized opinion….
My reply to the editor (That they did not print) was….
To the Editor
Do you really think that someone is going to spend up to a hundred thousand dollars, have hundreds of hours of electrolysis, spend hundreds of hours on a psychiatrist couch, take hormone to change their bodies and in addition have to put up with all the discrimination just so that they can peek into a women’s bathroom?
Do you have any idea what it is like to be transgendered? When you walk down a street everyone stares at you and you hear the giggles and snickers as you walk by them. Do you think that a person would do that just on a whim?
Currently, the states of California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington include protections to individuals based on their gender identity or expression. The California law just expanded it to cover schools. In the states that currently have anti-discrimination status there has not been any problems. Rhode Island has had their anti-discrimination law for four or five years now, and they have not had any issues with school bathrooms. Most state have laws regarding sex-segregated facilities, as does Connecticut, which provides for an exemption for sex discrimination for public accommodations regarding bathrooms and locker rooms. So your argument does not hold true, your worrying about “the law tells all teenage boys that it is OK to use the girls' locker rooms and bathrooms as long as the boys tell school administrators that they are, in fact, transgendered.” that would not be allowed. Also a teenage boy could not just one day say that they are transgender and I demand to use the women bathrooms, they would have to go through at least three months of counseling (The Harry Benjamin Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorders which dictate the treatment for Gender Identity Disorder.) before they would even be able to begin to transition.
Here in Connecticut I know of three students that have transitioned in high school and two of them were met with intimidation and harassment on a daily basis, they dropped out of high school. The school system did nothing to try to help them by stopping the bullying. While in another school district the Board of Education adopted a policy to help a student to transition safely.
With the proper policies and support by the Board of Education; students can transition safely and without creating disturbances for the rest of the students.
School of Social Work