Sunday, October 21, 2012

Put The Candle Back! (A post about policy toward transgender students in a town I'd never heard of)

Days ago I read about a school board which had put in place a policy to support and defend their transgender students.  This is an incredibly important thing.  Even in places that are safe and friendly to those who are non-heterosexual the safety or acceptance of non cissexual people cannot be taken as a given.

In many places it is seriously about the right to poop, because if you're planning on going anywhere other than in your pants you're probably going to have to use a room with toilets and those tend to be marked via gender. Go into what someone considers the wrong one and you could be killed.

So a school making it a matter of policy to not be evil, and spelling out what that means in terms of their transgender students is a massive and important thing.  Not because it changes the world or anything, but because every single student in that school is a person who matters and some of them need to be protected and others need to know that lashing out at individuals perceived to be non-cis is not acceptable, and more than that basic decency is always in season.

It's a step that should never need to be taken, because basic decency should be in force as the status quo, but "should" and "is" are two very different words and so it is a step that does need to be taken.  Taken more often, taken in more places.  Taken until so many have moved that step forward that they can't imagine one step back was ever the status quo.  Taken until, even when factually aware of it an intellectually accepting of the truth of it, the fact that we were ever as we are now seems emotionally impossible.  Taken until people look back at this moment and history and say, "How could anyone have ever been like that?"  Not with shock or outrage, because they can't reach that point through the sheer force of abject incomprehension.

We need to take these should-be-unnecessary steps forward.  Not we should take them.  We need to take them.

Then, this morning, I read that a school had taken a step back.

It had a perfectly reasonable and common decency based policy with regard to its transgender students, and it rescinded that policy in response to public outcry from bigots.

Didn't take long to learn that it was the same school.

They took a stand for what was right.  Then they backed down.  They decided to do right by their students, then they said, using different words of course, "Fuck the students."

So much for progress.

But it seems like there might be some small chance for hope.  If public pressure could make them preform a complete 180, maybe it can make them do a 360.  But I don't know how to raise a public outcry like the bigots do.  They make their living on it.  I don't.

The only way I know of to exert public pressure is petition, which is one of the smaller ways.  But it is, at least, a way.

So I looked around.  I found two, but they're outdated.  They're from before the policy was rescinded, trying to say not to rescind it.  I signed them anyway, I recommend everyone else do the the same.  I know of nothing else that can be done.  Just, boost the signal, it's all I can do.

I already added it to the This Week in the Slacktiverse post.

Links to petitions are here:
Stop District 131 from reversing their new transgender policy!
Uphold the transgender protection policy you UNANIMOUSLY voted to adopt!!


  1. Thanks for that, chris. I've signed those petitions.

    Disgusting to see rights rolled back because pandering to bigots is more important.


    1. So what happened was that I read the original post and it stayed with me as a bit of good news, a school treating their students with dignity and respect shouldn't be news, but it is, and it was basically unambiguously good news.

      Then this morning I read that some school has rescinded its good policy, and already I had a pretty good idea which one, but I hadn't memorized the name or bookmarked the page so there was still some hope that the good news remained good news, and this was just bad news somewhere else, but a quick search was enough to see that it was very definitely the same school, which is the sort of hope crushing thing you don't want to hear.

      So first I wrote up the addition to the This Week post, then I decided to post here too, and originally I was just going to copy what I posted to "This Week" over here, but then I ended up writing the post.

  2. This post is a good post. Moar candles, plz.