This morning Illinois Transgender students at the states’ largest school district are celebrating a historic decisive victory.
District 211 voted 5-2 Thursday giving transgender students unrestricted access to public accommodations according to the Illinois Eagle handing the hate group and Trump ally “Alliance Defending Freedom” a self-described “slap in the face”.
It has been a long fight with many battles fought, some lost, some won, some draws.
It all began in 2013 when “transgender student A” filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights after the school refused to allow her access to the female changing room facilities.
Amy Walker reported that the United States Department of Education’s Office For Civil Rights investigated Palatine High School for two years following the accusations, and found ‘a preponderance of evidence’ that the school officials willingly went against Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
After attempts were made to negotiate with the school to allow the young woman access, the school agreed to put up a privacy curtain in the locker room. However, the negotiations were forced to a halt when the school informed the student that she would have to use the private area, instead of offering it as a choice.
Although the student said that she intended to use the private area, John Knight, director of the LGBT and AIDS Project at ACLU of Illinois said that the stipulation of the private area constituted ‘blatant discrimination’.
‘It’s not voluntary, it’s mandatory for her’ Knight went on to comment. ‘It’s one thing to say to all the girls, ‘You can chose if you want some extra privacy’, but it’s another thing to say, ‘You, and you alone, must use them’. That sends a pretty strong signal to her that she’s not accepted and the district doesn’t see her as a girl.’
The families, who wish to remain unidentified, are calling themselves ‘Students and Parents for Privacy’ are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (a conservative Christian non-profit organization) and The Thomas More Society (a conservative pro-life law firm).
Published on May 5, 2016, by the Alliance Defending Freedom this highly disturbing video gives us an idea of what we may encounter elsewhere in the fight against discrimination.
Alliance Defending Freedom eventually withdrew that lawsuit after it became apparent that their position was indefensible.
The Tide Turned with a Clean sweep for pro-transgender District 211 Candidates
The Chicago Tribune reported that the anti-transgender candidates failed even though they drew financial support from a donor who has given millions to conservative causes. The group organized parents and outside protesters who spoke against granting basic human rights to a transgender high school student.
Though a high school cafeteria full of people angered by Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211’s transgender access practices called for change on the school board in December 2015 , a wider community expressed its preference for transgender equality.
Nova Maday, a transgender 2018 graduate of Palatine High School with a discrimination lawsuit pending against the district, said she hoped the decision would influence other districts but doesn’t accomplish every improvement she’s sought for transgender students. One example of what’s not included, she said, is easing the process of getting one’s named changed on a student ID.
“It’s a great first step,” said Maday, who was born male but identifies as female. “It’s huge, and school districts all across the state and nation are watching.”
“Students and Parents for Privacy” co-founder fumed saying that the Board vote for transgender equality was ‘ joke and a slap in the face’.
But Vicki Wilson, a fellow Palatine resident who co-founded the residents group Students and Parents for Privacy, called the new policy “a joke and a slap in the face.”
“When you turn all intimate spaces coed, that’s egregious,” Wilson said.
She said among the ongoing problems the district is not addressing is that there aren’t enough privacy stalls for every student to use each class period, while teens who do or try to use them are ridiculed.
Superintendent Dan Cates addressed the long-running public debate and the district’s evolving response to the issue before the board members’ discussion and vote.
“One of the biggest concerns we continue to hear is the idea that anyone can go in any locker room whenever they feel like it — as if a different gender can be declared at will,” Cates said. “That’s not the way it works in District 211. Upon a request from the student’s parent or guardian, a student’s stated gender in the official school record establishes the student’s gender for access to gender-specific facilities.”