Chicago School Acknowledges They’re Breaking Federal Law to Discriminate Against Trans Student

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A Chicago school has apparently willingly acknowledged that they’re breaking federal laws in continuing to discriminate against a trans student. They’ve banned the student from using locker facilities that match her gender on the basis that they do not want “opposite sex students in the same open area of the locker room.” They’ve offered her a separate changing facility, but let’s be honest, that completely misses the point.

The district issued a statement, saying that while they support transgender students, they draw the line at locker room usage. Never mind the fact that there hasn’t been a single case of trans people assaulting someone in a bathroom (quite the opposite, in fact), they’re just doing it.

The offering of a separate facility has reportedly made the student (who remains unidentified for privacy reasons) feel incredibly singled out, and a bit like a “pariah.” This separate-but-equal treatment might seem like a fair deal to people who totally don’t get it, but it completely misses the point. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. In both cases, of course, people can identify how they want, but differentiating between them for the purposes of locker rooms and bathrooms is extremely othering. It can send an incredibly negative message to that person and anyone else who catches wind of the story.

We can only imagine how stressful and awkward it must be for that trans student who’s forced to use the separate facility. Our experiences in high school can often serve to shape what kind of person we can be, so it’s extremely important that we take great care in the message we’re sending to students.

(via Think Progress, image via Shutterstock/sasipixel)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.