Friday, the 21st of October NBC published about ‘Blue’ an 11-year-old transgender student in Germany. On Monday The 11th grader had received an email from her DOD Ramstein middle school principal outlining and affirming her transitional plan which included using girl’s bathroom. Blue and her mother excitedly bought her new outfits looking forward to her first day out at school.
By Thursday Blue’s dreams were dashed after they received news the superintendent had overruled her principal.
Her mother Jess, said she got a phone call from the school, informing her that, effective immediately, Blue was banned from the girls’ room, a decision they said was made by Dr. Elizabeth Dunham, the superintendent in charge of the Bavaria district of the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Jess said Dunham reversed the decision by Ramstein Intermediate’s principal, Mary Salerno.
Blue is the only transgender person on this base required to use a gender-neutral bathroom,” Jess told NBC OUT. “I’m furious, absolutely furious. My blood is boiling, I’m so mad.”
Dr. Dunham’s denial of Blue’s basic rights not only went against Education Departments student directives but DOD policy as well. How absurd would it be to deny those rights to the children and not transgender soldiers protecting her a few clicks away?
Late Thursday afternoon a spokesperson for the Department of Defense sent the following statement to NBC OUT:
“DoDEA is committed to ensuring that students are provided a safe and secure learning environment. Students are the heart of everything we do.
“Students who are transgender currently attend DoDEA schools, just as they attend other school districts across the nation. It is the Department of Defense’s position, consistent with the U.S. Attorney General’s opinion, that discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination.
“The Department of Defense school system is currently observing October as National Bullying Prevention Month, yet this superintendent has unacceptably chosen to single out and discriminate against a student because of her gender identity,” AMPA’s Broadway-Mack told the Military Times. “Transgender youth already face high rates of marginalization, bullying, and harassment, and we urge the director of the Department of Defense Education Activity, Mr. Thomas Brady, to immediately step in and correct this unconscionable decision.”
Then Saturday morning Jess posted on Facebook:
“Here is the BIG news everyone!! We fought! And we WON!!!!! Last night we heard back from the Secretary of Defense (yes I mean THE US Secretary of Defense) And because of our Fight now ALL TRANSGENDER KIDS in ALL department of Defense schools can now use the bathroom and Locker Room of their gender Identity!! Mic Drop!!!!!!”
“Blue says tell the world!!! She is honored to be able to be a spokesperson … I am sooo proud of that girl!!!!!!” said Jess.
As of Saturday NBC has been unable to contact the DOD or DoDEA to confirm that they are in fact abiding by the DOE policy.
The inevitable reversal of the superintendent’s transphobic denial of Blues rights might have taken a lot longer if not for Dawn Ennis an award-winning journalist who was the first to transition in a network TV newsroom. She is now a freelance writer, producer and editor, as well as a widow, a single parent of three children, and the subject of an award-winning documentary, Before Dawn/After Don. Ennis is also on YouTube, onTwitter and blogging at lifeafterdawn.com