Like most LGBT bloggers and media folk, over the last few weeks I've tried to keep readers up-to-date on the roller-coaster ride of acceptance and rejection that was the East Aurora Illinois school district's policy on trans* students' inclusion.
In case you missed it, here's the cliff notes:
Earlier this month, the East Aurora School Board voted unanimously to adopt a policy of inclusion for their trans* students, which among other provisions, would allow for said students to use the appropriate bathroom facilities for their gender identity and presentation.
This caused some right-wing bigots to become upset.
Not wanting to upset right-wing bigots (a key school board demographic apparently), the board very promptly, rescinded the policy.
As one might imagine, that made fair-minded queer/LGBT people pretty upset in return. Not to mention people who simply care about the mental and emotional wellbeing of vulnerable kids.
Now, in an attempt to please everyone, the school board has formed a committee to study the issue and make a recommendation on how to how to treat trans* students in their system. That in itself isn't an adequate renouncement of responsibility on the part of the board however, so they have also decided to hold hearings open to the public to discuss the matter.
From where I sit, this in itself is a rather resounding statement on just how much the East Aurora School Board does not care about the welfare of the trans* students within their district.
I'm a grown man, and a member of the LGBT media, yet I can barely stomach second-hand videos on YouTube of these sorts of hearings. It is inconceivable to me how the board doesn't see how destructive to trans* kids and their families mental, emotional, and possibly physical health a public hearing is likely to be.
From what we've seen so far as this issue has developed is any indication, this hearing and the broader public debate on the issues is virtually gauranteed to be full of ill-informed people passing judgement not only on trans* equality, but on the fundamental identity and experience of the world a trans* person experiences.
It's too much to expect the Aurora School Board to change their tune yet again, but we can certainly hope that this time the process will break from the typical mold we're used to, and human decency will rule the day. And if not, I hope there are caring adults there to help Aurora's trans* youth learn to say a big old "fuck you" to hateful people who would impose their ideas of gender and sexuality on everyone else.
And now, here's what you need to know today: