The New Gender Paradigm
What is transsexuality? How can you tell whether someone is female or male? Is inspecting underwear or doing a chromosome test the only way? ...If so, how can people function in society without doing tests & exams on everyone they meet?
Transsexuality is a figment of people's imagination. It's the result of the general public's misunderstanding of gender & sexual biology. The deficit isn't in the 8-year old student, it's in the parents, teachers and school administration. Since schools are supposed to be the source of public education, any "explanation" of why the student Susi Jones is wearing a dress doesn't involve Susi at all. The issue is why the audience thinks there's a problem? How can civilized people debate about the shape of an 8-year old girl's genitals?
Although the process of establishing a policy is difficult and bound to stir up protests & complaints, it's better to fight over morality & words on a paper, instead of attacking a 6-year old child when she knocks on the school door. The reward is that effective trans policies reduce harassment, violence & school drop-out rates by 30%.
To be effective, a trans policy must be all-encompassing. Most administrators are shocked at the number of issues that pop up whenever the existence of trans students is acknowledged:
1. Initial enrollment procedures, including names & gender markers on school records.
2. Introduction of a new trans student to the school: Outing, explanations, medical privacy, informed consent, dealing with outraged protesters and community blowhards; how to hold off the ravenous media.
3. How the school will handle the same issues for an established student going through transitioning?
5. Procedures for dealing with harassment, including outside review & reporting arrangements.
6. How personal & health privacy will be maintained in school records?
7. Access to the appropriate restrooms & locker rooms
8. Appropriate trans participation in athletics
-- Are there trans role models on the school staff? (Ie, a post-transition Transsexual, not an LGB advocate)
-- Does the school have designated & marked "safe spaces" for trans students?
-- Inclusive curriculum: Accurate and appropriate inclusion of trans individuals in history, biology, sociology and other courses.
Transitioning in School
Additional issues arise whenever an established student discovers that they need to transition at school. The most obvious difference is that everyone is aware of what's taking place. Records and relationships have already been established with the student in wrong-gender mode. For many months, there will be an interim period during which the student is evolving. And finally there's the right-gender (post-transition) phase.
It may be best for the transition to occur over a long summer vacation, so that a "new student" appears at the beginning of the school year. Some families even change schools, so there's no "past history" to deal with.
Usually the best approach to a new enrollment in kindergarten or first grade is to tell no one -- because there's nothing that needs to be explained. However, in-school transitioning demands some sort of explanation:
-- How many? It's rarely necessary to out the student to the entire school. In most cases, the other students in the same classroom will need some sort of explanation: They're going to witness the changes with their own eyes. Under certain circumstances (eg, a summer transition or changing schools) it may be fine to only inform a handful of supportive friends.
Involvement of other students' parents is often risky.
-- What explanation? A mistake was made at birth that now needs to be corrected. Medical tests revealed a correct gender.
Don't say anything about penises or vaginas, chromosomes or surgery. No "choosing a new gender," no mental illness, no "gender is a social construct." Transitioning is the correction of a past mistake (ie, not transitioning in early childhood.)
-- Student Privacy: Every student's medical status is private and protected by law -- and that includes medical diagnoses like transsexuality, the status of a student's genitals, what medications a student might be taking, etc. For example, when a student is prohibited from using the girls' restroom, it's a public announcement that her genitals don't pass some arbitrary bureaucratic standard.
-- Other Parents: In general, it's none of their business. Outsiders must not be allowed to disrupt the learning process. Religious debate should take place in theological seminaries, not in public schools.
In today's society, groups take up arms even at the mere mention of a Trans Student in School. Any school that tries to hammer out standardized policies on the issue will find themselves in the center of a tornado of protest & complaint.
The easiest approach is to assume the ostrich position, head firmly in the sand. The excuse administrators give is that the condition is so rare, it'll be handled on a case-by-case basis. That means no written trans policies.
(...And the reason cases seem so rare is that the trans students attending the school are hiding in fear.)
Mention the word "transgender," and harassment & violence will follow -- it's society's method of choice for preventing trans people from transitioning.
There are three steps to STOPPING harassment & violence at school:
-- Don't out transgender students. Releasing private medical information benefits no one, while injuring the student. In fact, involuntary outing is a form of assault, and policies should have that fact in writing.
-- A detailed anti-harassment & anti-violence policy that lists prohibited behaviors, describes actions to be taken (particularly for repeat offenders). Who will administer the program? Appeals & reviews. Punishments for inaction or a lack of appropriate intervention. Trans advocates. Protection of at-risk students. Police involvement & reporting. Tracking occurrences. Limits to parental & media disruption of school activities.
-- Education of all staff & students regarding the anti-violence policy. In addition, accurate information regarding human biology, especially in regard to intersexuality & transsexuality, should be provided to staff, students and parents.
For any youth -- trans or not -- athletic participation is purely a medical concern: Is the student physically at risk of injury while playing contact sports?
Puberty, testosterone exposure, and weight training are the relevant factors, along with screening for a variety of medical conditions that put a youth at risk: Such as lung problems (asthma), heart problems, skeletal weaknesses, concussion risk, etc.
Any bureaucratic involvement in decisions about athletic participation is proof of bias and discrimination. Res ipse locuitur.
For more information, go HERE.
Example: Fairfax School District
On 4 April 2011, the Department of Education (DOE) sent a letter to all school districts in the nation, noting that transsexuals in public schools were protected from discrimination under the Gender clause of Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972. A clarification of the original letter was distributed 29 April 2014.
In early May 2015, the Board for the Fairfax Virginia Public Schools system (the 10th largest in the country) finally voted to include transgender students in their anti-discrimination & anti-harassment policies. They explained that they were forced by the federal government to make the changes.
Except religious leaders, the press and parents were outraged. They predicted that "boys would use girls' bathrooms and locker rooms." Transsexual students might soon be allowed to participate in school athletic programs. They feared that transgender teachers might even be hired. (See Fox News commentaries by Todd Starnes, 7-8 May 2015).
"The damage and destruction to our children, teens and impacted adults will be incalculable."
-- Pastor Martin Baker, Burke Community Church
NOTE: The Burke Church motto is, "To know Christ and to make Him known."
The website continues, "We desire to allow for freedom of belief on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based upon the Bible alone and that no interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry to which God has called us."
The response wasn't from just a handful of radicals. The board hearing was packed -- standing room only. Police had to be brought in to control the crowd.
The situation echoes a similar meeting that took place at a Human Rights Commission hearing in Maine, 2 April 2010. The subject was the same: addition of "gender identity" to the anti-discrimination policy. The reaction in Maine was the same as the reaction in Fairfax: a packed room with irate parents and religious leaders.
Do you think transsexual students will be welcome in Fairfax Schools even after the policy change? The real problem is an overwhelmingly negative public opinion about transsexuality. Acceptance will come only when public opinion improves.
Gender Basics Portal
The Family Portal
It's not about answering the call of nature. The Potty Scandal is a clever ploy to destroy the credibility of all transsexuals everywhere. According to the mythmakers, a trans girl can't enter the appropriate restroom, because she's Really a Boy and she's Really a Pervert.
Any school policy, state law or Supreme Court decision that limits access automatically establishes these two dangerous insinuations as the law of the land.
For more about the potty debate, go HERE.
A trans parent's role in all this is to negotiate with the school about how your child will be treated. The results of that negotiation will determine the rest of the child's life & their resulting emotional state.
As you can see above, there are many decisions at each step in the schooling process.
If the negotiation involves lawyers, forget it. The school always wins. If the school administration is simply uneducated, you have hope.
WARNING: LGB Advocacy groups like PFLAG will probably not be much help.
The Key Issues
School records and transcripts follow you wherever you go, for your entire lifetime. They determine specialty & professional education. They're a basis for employment. By referring to a prior name and (incorrect) gender marker, they also out transsexuals for decades after transitioning. That means, explanations. And in current society, that means unemployment.
Imagine a teacher calling roll in a class: John Jones?
A girl in the back nervously raises her hand: Uh, that name is wrong. I'm Susi Jones now.
The classroom breaks out in laughter and catcalls, while the trans student cringes in fear.
Of course, the best approach would be to enroll in preschool with the correct name & gender. That is, transitioning in early childhood, including legal name change and gender marker correction on the birth certificate. If that were done, there would be no questions about transsexuality, and the child could live her life in peace.
Except that would require changing laws & court procedures that currently prohibit name change and transitioning prior to adulthood.
Bad schools have no policy for correcting the name on school records: The birth certificate says John Jones, so the school records say John Jones. Harassment occurs every time those records are consulted -- including class assignments, testing & report cards. It's easy for the school to pile on restroom restrictions & athletic prohibitions. ...And the youth's life will be miserable.
What's needed is a method for correcting the name & gender on the core school documents. The corrections must be total and comprehensive, because the prior wrong name & incorrect gender marker will never be used again. Comments like "also known as..." and "prefers to be called" merely shows that the school administration clings to the delusion that the student is Really a Boy and she might "change her mind."
Such evasions harm the person for the rest of her life.
Surveys have shown that only 10.2% of American schools mention transsexuality anywhere in their policies. Of those, 31% have merely placed "gender identity" in a long laundry list of protected groups in generic We don't discriminate and We don't allow violence policies. This kind of lip-service is another easy way to avoid taking a stand.