What happens when a school district allows a transgender student to use the bathroom consistent with his or her gender identity? According to a recent article in The Miami Herald, not much.
After months of legislation and lawsuits aimed at prohibiting transgender individuals from using the restrooms that correspond to their gender identities, tens of thousands of words and hundreds of TV news hours have been expended attacking or defending the politics and legalities of the issue. In particular, school district policies regarding transgender students have been the focus of national attention, especially after the federal government released guidance on the rights of transgender students to public schools nationwide in May. Yet The Miami Herald reports that schools were accommodating these students two years before the current controversy.
"Although some state attorneys general and legislators have taken the federal government to court over its directive instructing all public school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity, school districts in those very states have quietly dealt with the issue with relative ease," the article says, citing public school districts in Missouri, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Iowa.
Experts in the LGBT community agree.
"If [politicians] were listening to local authorities," Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network Executive Director Eliza Byard told The Miami Herald, "they'd get out of the way."
Kudos to these local school districts for accommodating vulnerable students. It's obvious they managed to do so without inciting anarchy. They've established excellent examples for other school districts to follow— and they've shown just how hollow the Religious Right's fear-mongering really is.