A transgendered teen girl (who is biologically male) has been granted the right to use the girls’ locker room at a suburban Chicago high school, and now some of the girls who will be forced to change clothes in her presence are speaking out, the Daily Signal is reporting.
Palatine, Illinois, is a well-to-do suburb of Chicago, the hometown of comedy actress Melissa McCarthy. It is also the site of the first-ever school district — District 211 — to be found in violation of federal civil rights laws on transgender rights.
— Zoonga Videos (@rogerio_na_web) November 28, 2015
A student — identified in court documents only as “Student A” — was born biologically male but identifies as female. She has been transitioning since junior high school, and is on a steady treatment of hormone therapy. Throughout her transition, she’s been trying to get the same rights afforded to other girls at her high school — the right to use the girls’ bathroom and locker room, for example. District 211 offered up a compromise that would allow her to change clothes in a private, separate locker room. Her parents sued, and the government sided with the girl, forcing the school to allow her to change clothes in the girls’ locker room.
The district, in order to avoid losing federal funding, was forced to abide by the ruling. Student A was allowed to change behind so-called “privacy curtains,” which protected her privacy, but did nothing to protect the privacy of the other girls in the locker room — girls who are not biologically male.
Speaking to a crowded school board earlier this month, six of the girls who will now be sharing a locker room with Student A spoke out.
— Christian Farr (@ChrisFarrNBC5) October 12, 2015
In a joint statement addressing Student A directly, the girls acknowledged that being a transgendered teen must be hard, but so is being a regular teen, especially when it comes to using the locker room.
“It is unfair to infringe upon the rights of others to accommodate one person. Although we will never fully understand your personal struggle, please understand that we, too, all are experiencing personal struggles that need to be respected.”
Another student, not part of the group of six, echoed similar sentiments when speaking to the Daily Caller for an interview.
“I know Student A poses no harm to me, but it just doesn’t feel right knowing someone with male anatomy is in the bathroom with me. I have nothing against Student A and would be her friend if I knew her better, but when it comes down to it, I don’t feel right changing in the same room as a transgender student. The locker room is already filled with so much judgment, and I barely feel OK changing in front of my naturally born girl peers.”
Palatine, Illinois, is not the first community to find its school at the heart of a controversy surrounding which facilities a transgendered teen can use. In September, the town of Hillsborough, Missouri, was “divided,” as CNN reports, over a transgendered girl (who is biologically male) being granted the right to use the girls’ bathroom.
In fact, schools across the country have been put in the awkward position of having to protect the rights of teens to live according to a gender that is not biologically theirs, while balancing that with the rights of cisgendered teens who would prefer not to have someone of the opposite sex (biologically) sharing bathroom and locker room space with them.
And as the case in Palatine demonstrates, there are no quick and easy solutions when it comes to transgendered teens wanting to be allowed to use opposite-sex locker rooms.
[Image via Shutterstock/Guryanov Andrey]