Back when I lived in Arkansas (1984-2000), I would frequently be told, upon seeing outrageous behavior on the part of one of that state's citizens, "You've got to remember, This is Arkansas." As if that simple statement implied that Arkansans were not subject to the laws of the United States or the societal expectation of Planet Earth.
It frustrated me no end.
It got so I would say
Arkansas is a really beautiful place to live, except for the people who live there.
I imagine people in other places may have similar stories...or perhaps, ones that are in total opposition.
The news spins:
The YMCA here adopted a policy of allowing transgender people to use the locker rooms, restrooms and showers of the gender with which they identified...until hey caved when some members applied pressure.
We are asking that our transgender members use our private changing room at our family facilities.
--YMCA spokesperson Michelle LaRue
YMCA managers say they are responding to a flood of phone calls, emails and social media postings by members who were concerned about or opposed to allowing transgender people in transition to use public locker rooms.
The concern was that a non-transgender individual might pose as a transgender to gain access to our locker rooms and expose themselves to children and cause harm to children.
Such a thing has never happened in the United States. Perhspas the fear is that Mike Huckabee would show up?
I just think policies like this are really divisive and they pit people against each other.
It's the wrong move. We really are in support of policies that let people choose the restroom and locker room of the gender that they identify with. Period.
--Michelle Douglas, executive director of the Rainbow Center, Tacoma
Douglas is particularly concerned that the reason cited for the change might falsely imply transgender people, or those in transition, are more likely to prey upon children.
They're not linked, but it does link that in people's minds and it's incredibly offensive.
I have to be incredibly clear with our community. That we have no correlation. These are two separate issues," It is fear-based. We've not had any complaints filed about inappropriate use of our locker rooms from transgender members.
Transgender members are permitted to use locker rooms and public restrooms they most identify with at the Y's two adult facilities. They can also use standalone restrooms that most closely align with their gender identification.
Ken White has identified as transgender since he was 12. He says his experience has been mixed: Some accept him, others don't.
Ken is now afraid to go to school after an incident on Thursday. Since Ken has not yet begun hormones or surgical alteration, he is in an awkward place.
I agreed with them that I was going to use the female's restroom so I wouldn't make anyone feel uncomfortable.
On Thursday Ken was using the restroom when two students began taunting him, calling him a "tranny freak" and shouting for him to come out of the stall he was in. Ken syas this happened for fifteen minutes while he texted his mother.
He texts me, 'I'm locked in the bathroom and can't get out.
To have your child text you that they want to die because someone is doing that to you is not right. I don't think those kids understand the emotion that was put on him.
Both Ken and his mother place the blame squarely on the students involved in the bullying and note that staff at Daniel High have gone out of their way to make the family feel welcome.
He's not hurting anybody. He's almost a straight-A student, trying to get into the Governor's School next year, minding his own business, trying to use the restroom.
We do not allow bullying of any of our students, and we work with transgender students and their families to make them feel welcome at our schools.
Bullying allegations are private matters to be discussed with the students involved and with their parents, and our administrators investigate any allegations of bullying that come to their attention. Out of respect for our students' privacy rights, we do not discuss disciplinary matters with the public.
--School District of Pickens County
Homeschooling is being considered because Ken is now afraid to go to school.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed SB 703, which protects transgender employees of all employers who engage in business with state agencies.
Specifically, the bill expands on the state’s pre-existing discrimination laws by prohibiting “a state agency from entering into contracts for the acquisition of goods or services of $100,000 or more with a contractor that discriminates between employees on the basis of gender identity in the provision of benefits.”
The bill was authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, and the Transgender Law Center
California law already stipulates that employers cannot deny transgender people health care and other benefits, but a loophole in state law has allowed companies that contract with the state to refuse equal health coverage. This bill closes that loophole.
Wisconsin was the first state to institute non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation. They have been terrible at protecting people on the basis of gender identity.
Now two Republican legislators, Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and Sen Steve Nass (R-Whitewater)
have proposing a law to bar transgender students from using the ocker room or restroom of the gender with which they identify.
This bill reinforces the societal norm in our schools that students born biologically male must not be allowed to enter facilities designated for biological females and vice versa.
--Kremer wrote in a memo to lawmakers.
All in the name of the safety and privacy of students, don't you know?
The proposed legislation, he said, is the result of a situation in the Kewaskum School District in which a student who was born female but identifies as male repeatedly used a school bathroom for boys.
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund said the bill singles out transgender students for discrimination.
Transgender young people already face immense harassment and bias when they are just trying to participate in their school environments as their authentic selves. Legislation like this would further stigmatize transgender students and harm their health and well-being.
--Michael Silverman, TLDEF
This is the new focus for intolerant legislators in their attacks on Wisconsin’s LGBT+ community.
Having recently lost their fight against marriage equality, Republicans now know both popular sentiment and the courts are against them telling our neighbors who they can love. Now they have shifted their focus to attacking our transgender youth.
--Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee)
The ACLU of Nevada is choosing to fight a decision by the Elko County School Board to deny a transgender student's request to use the facilities of his choice.
Michelle Gonzales' son (identified as Doe) was granted a request in fifth grade to use either a single-sex or alternate bathroom because of Doe's discomfort with using the girl's bathroom or locker rooms. In sixth grade Doe asked to use the boy's bathroom. The original request was denied. An appeal to the principal resulted in Doe being allowed to use the male facilities. On September 22, the board of trustees overruled the principal.
Currently Doe is restricted to using the unisex bathroom designated for special education students.
No stigma attached there.