Mother Of Transgender Teen Pens Open Letter After ‘Mixed Gender Locker Rooms’ Stories

The mother of a transgender teen in Chicago is speaking out, after a great deal of controversy over her fight to have her daughter allowed equal access to the girls’ locker room. Because her daughter is transgender, critics have called the fight an excuse to let a boy see nude teen girls, and a danger to these girls. The child in question has remained anonymous in media and in court documents, referred to only as “Student A,” but now, through the ACLU, her mother, remaining anonymous, is speaking out.

Several news sites have reported on the case, disparaging the family’s attempts to have the transgender teen treated the same as all females in the school. Breitbart referred to the case with a headline that declared girls were being forced to undress next to naked boys, and the Daily Caller said the Feds were forcing schools to allow “boys who dress as girls” to use the girls’ locker room.

Fact-checking site Snopes dug into the story and brought out the facts: the girl was being ordered to use a privacy curtain that other girls were not required to use, and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights concluded that this was, indeed, a matter of discrimination, as the ACLU of Illinois was pleased to share earlier this month.

Transgender teen faced discrimination. [Image via Facebook]A similar case in St. Louis, MO, earlier this year resulted in students walking out to protest a transgender teen being granted access to girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, and the teen dropping out of gym class for fear of her own safety. CBS St. Louis reports that the teen, Lila Perry, was offered a gender-neutral changing room and restroom, but said she wanted the same rights and access as other girls.

Holding out for those same rights, the right to be treated like any girl in the school, has garnered a lot of attention for the unnamed teen in Chicago, too — in her open letter, the transgender teen’s mother says the girl is called, among friends, “the most famous anonymous person.”

On social media, many decried the decision to give the teen equal access to locker rooms.

Transgender teen use of locker room upsets some [Image via Twitter]The teen was often referred to with the words “transgender” and “girl” in quotation marks, as though to indicate that she was, in fact, neither. Right Wing Watch reports that conservative media presenter Pat Robertson spoke about the case, implying that the teen was just a boy who wanted an excuse to see naked girls.

To such assertions, the teen’s mother says in her open letter, opponents are simply wrong: her child is a girl.

“The district wrongly assumes what many who are not educated about the issue assume: That what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy is simple anatomy. We believed this, until our daughter came along.”

She goes on to tell of her daughter, at a very young age, declaring she was a girl, and selecting activities, clothing, and behaviors generally associated with girls. However, her mother says, when as a seventh-grader, the child still felt the same and asserted that she must live as a girl, it was still a surprise.

“When we were struggling to understand, we sought out medical professionals and support groups. Through this education process, we learned that gender extends beyond the sex a person is assigned at birth. We learned that scientific evidence has determined that gender is also determined by the brain’s anatomy, which is why the sexual characteristics assigned to many at birth are incongruent with their true gender identity. We also learned that one’s gender identity is different from one’s sexual orientation.”

“Most importantly, we learned acceptance.”

She also says she learned that transgender teens are at higher risk for suicide and for facing violence due to their identities. When their daughter was bullied at school over her exclusion from girls’ sports and activities, the parents felt it was time to step in. They obtained a legal name change, identification, and medical records for the teen, identifying her as female and as receiving treatment (including hormone injections) for gender dysphoria.

When the school still resisted giving the teen equal access to girls’ spaces and activities, her mother says, she approached the ACLU for help. To read her entire letter, click here.

The U.S. Department of Education has responded to the transgender teen’s case, saying that it is discrimination by legal definitions and, if continued, could cause a loss of federal funding for the school.

[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]