Friday, May 13, 2016

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard:

To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You!

It’s hard to be a teenager.  You remember.  You’re too tall.  You’re too short.  Your body’s changing.  You break out in pimples.  You want to be noticed.  You don’t want to be noticed.
Now pile all that adolescent angst on top of:  I was designated a boy at birth, but I’m a girl.
Or, To others I look like a girl, but I know I’m a boy.
Most of us can’t imagine what that would be like. But I think we all realize that being forced to live a life inconsistent with our authentic  self or gender identity– would be wrong. If, when I was growing up, people told me that I was a boy and that I must – under threat of harassment and intimidation – live as a boy even though I knew I was a girl, that would have been painful; confusing; and frightening.”
I’m a teacher, and it’s my duty to protect students.  I’ve comforted them when they’ve been scared.  I’ve held them crying in my arms when someone was cruel to them.  I wish my arms were big enough to hold all our transgender students today who have to undergo the onslaught of powerful politicians right now who are using that power to hurt them.
For some of these politicians, I believe they are acting out of profound ignorance of the transgender community.  If I wanted to be generous, I’d say that their education is lacking and they don’t know what they’re talking about.
But I don’t want to be generous with everyone.  I believe there are some who are cynically acting out of politics– they believe that an issue like this will mobilize certain voters to support them or oppose someone else.  It’s an old political trick:  Propose a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist so that you can pontificate and legislate and appear to be strong in defending family, morality, democracy, etc.  It’s a game.
But there are others who aren’t playing games.  They welcome the opportunity to harass and humiliate LGBT people.  They don’t believe LGBT people have the right to exist and if they do exist, they should at least have the good taste to be embarrassed about it and hide it.  People who have decided not to be ashamed of who they are offend them.
Whatever the motivation, some state legislators have responded to cities that passed nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by passing their own laws prohibiting such protections and going further.  In North Carolina, amongst other things, they required a public school to prohibit a transgender student from using the restroom with which the student identifies.  Specifically, students must use the restroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificates.
So.  Imagine.
A teenage transgender girl who struggles to make herself appear on the outside the way she feels on the inside; a teenager who dresses as a young girl, fixes her hair as a young girl, speaks and walks and acts as the young girl she is on the inside must, by North Carolina law, use the boys’ restroom.  She must walk into the boys’ bathroom and be gawked at by the teenage boys who will surely make her feel as if she’s walked into the wrong bathroom.
A teenage transgender boy who struggles to make himself appear on the outside the way he feels on the inside; a To Our Transgender Students: We See You, We Stand With You! - Lily's Blackboard:

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