Grass Lakes, MI parents have a problem with transgender people.
When these people outed us and said such horrible, hurtful things, I stayed quiet for as long as I could, thinking it was going to protect my son. But, you know, they’re not stopping, and everybody knows who we are, and if we don’t start correcting the information that’s out there — educating people about what this really means — then it’s never going to stop and it’s only going to get harder and more difficult for my son and the other kids out there dying to be themselves.
Cruz Neely began identifying as a boy in second grade, two years ago.
Last summer, he was insistent he wanted to start “living as his true self,” saying, “I know I’m a boy; I’m going to be bullied no matter what; I’d rather be bullied for who I am than live as someone I’m not, so why can’t we do that, Mom? Why can’t we?” The family started allowing Cruz to transition, and by January of this year, they were ready to approach the school and ask for a change.
The school agreed that they would address Cruz by his new name and pronouns and — with some hesitancy because of how the laws could change — agreed to let him use the boys’ restroom as well. However, the school would not send a letter home to parents, let Terri address her son’s class, or offer any education to assist his transition. “It was up to Cruz to tell all of his peers, his nine-year-old friends, that he was a boy named Cruz,” she said. “They totally left it up to a nine-year-old to explain that, which, as you can imagine, is difficult.”
When that day hit when he could finally just be who he had always believed himself to be, it was literally the best four months of school ever. It was just magical. A light went on in him that I had never seen before.
My son now says he wants to kill himself again. He wishes he were dead because everybody hates him.
Organized as a group called “Concerned Parents & Taxpayers of Grass Lake,” the anti-trans group has taken several steps beyond simply speaking at school board meetings. For example, they launched a petition on change.org that, in addition to spreading many falsehoods about trans identities, calls for the school to force Cruz and other trans kids to permanently use only unisex restrooms.
Earlier this month, the group spread fliers to every home in Grass Lake. The flier claims, falsely, that the school’s policy allows for the “intermingling of the sexes in the bathrooms.” It also objects to the fact that taxpayers will pay for the urinal stalls given they oppose the policy of inclusion in the first place.
The "Concerned Parents" group is being represented legally by the hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom.