A few weeks ago, our members attended a board meeting for Patterson Unified School District. We were asked to come advocate on behalf of transgender students of Stanislaus County regarding a proposed change to their policies and procedures, which would have required staff and teachers to “out” transgender students to their parents, against the consent of the student.
We spoke about the fact that LGBTQ+ kids are hugely overepresented in the homeless youth population, with multiple studies showing up to 40% of homeless youth at any one time identifying as LGBTQ+. This is a huge disparity, and speaks to the fact that many LGBTQ+ kids don’t feel safe at home, or safe to be honest with their parents for a variety of reasons.
The fact is that sometimes, school is the one safe space that LGBTQ+ kids have. And the law in California is that school employees are to safeguard school being that safe space. It is also the school’s responsibility to protect student’s privacy, which very much includes their LGBTQ+ or transgender status, which is everyone’s private health information.
These kinds of attacks against the privacy of transgender students are common all over the country at this time. These kinds of policy changes do not protect trans kids. They are meant only to make transgender and LGBTQ+ kids uncomfortable being themselves at school. There are these kinds of attacks happening in Clovis, on the coast, and near San Diego, and in most every state in the nation.
The lone board memeber who proposed these changes made his feelings clear, by clearly stating multiple times that transgender kids are mentally unstable, and should not be encouraged to be who they are. The stated that the entire transgender movement is “false” and unreal. Thankfully, this board member had no allies in the room, and his proposal was rejected by the entire rest of the board. This was after 20-30 people in the audience spoke up in defense of LGBTQ+ kids and their privacy.
The board, in fact, voted to table this and any similar proposals like it. They had also come prepared with the school attorney, who also advised against any changes to their privacy practices.
The sense of success and triumph was felt throughout the crowd, who gathered outside once the matter had been settled.
Our members met up with members of Mo’Pride, and we briefly spoke about collaboration between our two organizations.
More to come!