A voice on the transgender bathroom issue


Transgender bathroom issue

Jaydin Webb, Editor-in-chief


     He is in the Englewood band. He rocks the trombone. He is very opinionated on issues of politics, classwork, and social media. He is a good student. He works hard in class. He loves animated movies. He has a lot to share, but he is transgender and the world isn’t quite ready to listen, “There are still a lot of challenges I face every day. People can still be rude and discriminatory, but it’s not as bad as it would’ve been in the past.” Vox Buchanan is a 9th grader. He is one of a handful of students on the TEC campus dealing with this issue. He was born a girl, but in 7th grade, made the gut-wrenching decision to live his true life as a boy. It hasn’t been easy, “People don’t really respect me. There are people who are pretty much disgusted by my existence, and it’s hard to deal with them.”

     He feels better in his skin, but that doesn’t mean others are more accepting,

     “I have had people outright say I am not a guy, and that I never will be one. There was even an incident where someone said ‘I don’t associate with transgender people’ when all I did was ask them to be quiet. Hate is everywhere, but there are still people who are accepting and respectful”.

     Part of the issue is many people aren’t informed about transgender nuances, “I prefer masculine (he/him) pronouns, but they/them is okay as well. I have friends who accept me and don’t think I’m an abomination, and It’s nice to know that at least some people are there to help me.”

     Buchanan is very upset about President Trump rescinding protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. “Yes, the new law definitely affects me. It removes the protections that were put into place to protect trans people and trans students like me. It takes away my right to use the bathroom of my gender, and it’s incredibly messed up. Even though there are still laws to protect me from discrimination, does that really matter if I can’t even use the bathroom?”

     According to the Washington Post,  the Trump administration through officials with the federal Education and Justice departments, notified the U.S. Supreme Court that the administration is ordering the nation’s schools to disregard memos the Obama administration issued during the past two years regarding transgender student rights. Those memos said that prohibiting transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

     The two-page “Dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration, which was sent out to the nation’s public schools, does not offer any new guidance, instead saying that the earlier directive needed to be withdrawn because it lacked extensive legal analysis, did not go through a public vetting process, sowed confusion and drew legal challenges.

     Those who agree with President Trumps’ decision say safety issues top the concerns, but Buchanan disagrees, “People argue that it will be a safeguard protecting women from predatory men who will enter the women’s bathrooms. Because ‘obviously’, a man is going to go into the women’s restroom and claim “I can be in here, I’m transgender.” That’s not how it works. The logic behind it is all screwed up and backward, and I think it’s doing more harm than good If it even does any good.”

     Principal Ryan West says the TEC Staff at all three schools remain committed to the rights of all of our students and have created an environment here where we go out of our way to make sure that ALL of our students feel welcome and safe. “I guarantee that as long as I am principal here that the staff will continue to provide equal opportunity and access for all of our students including our transgender students”. Mr. West stands in complete agreement with our Superintendent, Dr. Wendy Rubin, on this issue as being one that is a non-negotiable,”I have never been in a school that is as accepting of all other people, regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identity, age, or any other identifying factor then here at TEC”.

     Buchanan sees hope for acceptance of transgender individuals in the future, “Being trans is definitely more acceptable than it was, say, 20 years ago. There are trans safe spaces, information is more readily available, and you’re bound to find people that can support you. It’s not easy, though”.

    There are numerous resources avilable to student who need support. https://glbtcolorado.org/transgender/transgender-resources-support/