A story on the Support All Students website that shows schools can choose to recognize its students as whatever gender the students want to identify with is the story of a 17-year-old transgender boy named Felix in Berkeley, California.
Felix’s school allowed him to partake in activities that a lot of other males participated in. He was able to focus on his school work because of the support he gets from the other students in the school.
On the other side of the support spectrum is another story from the Support All Students website where Dean, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Bakersfield, California, is taking online classes at home due to lack of support from the school. When he was attending the school, he was being forced to use women’s bathrooms and to participate in women’s activities because the school didn’t allow him to identify as a boy.
Loy Norrix junior Ruby Hensley believes that schools should respect the students no matter what either party believes.
“I think they should [support their transgender students] because if schools are supposed to have a certain level of understanding towards students and their identity, and if they aim to have a positive environment, then they should respect what the students believes to be who they are,” said Hensley.
A person should be able to identify as the gender they choose based on what they’re most comfortable identifying as rather than based on whether they have female genitalia or male genitalia.
“I think that if somebody feels like they were born in the wrong body, that they should be able to take control of the life they want,” Hensley added.
In Michigan, if you want to change the gender designated to you at birth, you do not need to prove you have had a sex reassignment surgery, but if you did, to prove you’ve had this surgery, you need a notarized affidavit (a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court) written by either the physician who performed the surgery, or a physician who cared for you during the surgery.
A traditionally conservative state, the Tennessee government does not allow sex reassignment surgery results, and certainly not gender identity changes to be reflected on birth certificates and state IDs. Though people in the Tennessee government have the right to think this way, it’s not okay to deprive citizens of their identity.
Imagine living your normal life as a boy but going to school and being forced to use the women’s bathroom. Some people might not find it to be a big deal because it’s “just a bathroom,” but I don’t think it’s entirely about the bathroom, it’s about being labeled as something you’re not. A transgender male wouldn’t want to be labeled a female as much as Cisgender male wouldn’t want to be labeled a female, and vise versa.
“Cisgender” is a term given to people who identify as the gender they were given to at birth. Some people believe the term is derogatory, but Hensley doesn’t think it is.
“I think there’s negativity implied in the word ‘Cisgender’ often because there are a lot of Cisgender people who are ignorant of the struggles of transgender or gender-fluid people; however, I do not necessarily think it is derogatory,” Hensley said.
Another problem with transgender individuals using the bathroom of their choice is that in America today, a lot of people are still hostile towards people who don’t follow the social norms. The safety of a transgender student is in jeopardy as it is, but when you’re in a bathroom with no security cameras, the transgender student can be harassed, beaten up, or even killed.
If a person wishes to legally change their gender, they should have to file change papers with their state’s government just for security reasons, but other than that, a person should be able to identify how they choose and also be able to be referred to by using whatever pronouns they want to be referred.
Gender identity should be left up to the individual, not the given chromosomes.