Joe Mirabella

Trans student suspended from school and chased out of town

Filed By Joe Mirabella | March 26, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Dan Savage, Mississippi, Transgender Anti-Discrimination, transgender teens

Dan Savage reported about a tragic example of transgender hate from the same Mississippi high school that canceled prom for Constance McMillen, Itawamba Agricultural High School:

Juin Baize was a student at Itawamba Agricultural--for a grand total of four hours.

Baize, his mother, and his two sisters moved to Fulton, Mississippi, from New Harmony, Indiana, to live with Baize's grandmother at the beginning of the year. (For now Baize says he prefers to use male pronouns.) Baize, age sixteen, enrolled at Itwamba Agricultural High School, where Constance McMillen was also a student. McMilllen clearly recalled Baize's first--and only--day at Itawamba Agricultural.

"People were talking about him all day, trying to get a look at him," said McMillen. "It was insane, it was ridiculous, it made me so mad. They said he was causing a distraction with what he was wearing but it was a half day of school and people didn't have time to get used to him."

The other students wouldn't be given a chance to get used to him: the next time Baize came to school, according Kristy Bennett, legal director of the ACLU of Mississippi, Baize was given a suspension notice and sent home. When Juin returned to school after his first suspension, he was suspended again.

Ultimately Juin's mother decided it was best to move Julin out of town for safety reasons. The ACLU decided not to sue the school with the family's blessing, but Juin and Juin's family still need your help.

Dan Savage is leading an online fundraising drive to help support Juin's family that has been economically devastated and separated because of the hate that thrives in this small Mississippi community.

Julin Baize.jpegSavage has been in communication with the family and is confident any money raised will be put to a good use.

As an added bonus, for those of you who are upset with Dan for this:

In '08 Sloggers helped raised more than $5,000 to pay for the funeral of Duanna Johnson, a transwoman and a victim of police brutality who was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. According to Johnson's family, half of the money raised for Johnson's funeral came from donors in Seattle after a call for donations appeared on Slog. Let's see what we can raise for a trans kid who's still alive, shall we? (Oh, and folks who want me to apologize for this: Okay, I will--after we raise at least 2K for Juin and his family. Otherwise, meh, I'll just keep hating on trans people like the raging anti-trans beegoat that I am.)

So there you have it. If you want to see Dan Savage grovel, click the button below and raise some money for a very worthy cause.

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Angela Brightfeather | March 26, 2010 2:53 PM

You know what? We need a GLBT march in this town similar to the March on Selma. I think it would be a fiting showcase to make about our issues as GLBT people and I know it would stir some people to move on those issues, plus energize our base a bit as well.

Just a thought. But this town needs to understand that their actions merit consequences and that we are willing to stand by and support our people.

thanks for picking up this story. I e-mailed Juin last night trying to offer help. I didn't have a workable link to help till I saw this on reddit. I'll be sending a donation soon :)

Hi Chelle, do you have Juin's email address? Can you ask her if I can have it? I'd like to send some words of support, and see how it's going since she's moved.

I'd rather not post this young kid's direct info for safety's sake. There's enough stress in the family's life.. I've only gotten a couple replies from Juin, and they were pretty brief. I do suspect the family is following some of the internet coverage. In my last note I offered more help if Juin's Mom contacts me so perhaps I'll be able to post an update.

Donated.. I don't donate to worthy causes nearly enough.. felt good to do this.. I hope it helps

Joe, Thanks for letting us all know about this.

However, a conditional apology is not an apology.

Nor does this really good thing he's dong make up in and of itself, for the repeated history of his doing really stupid stuff.

There are people who literally believe what he said, because he's been saying it so long. Seriously.

So he's still got a long way to go to make up for that, and part of it is an apology that doesn't have conditions.

10 good to every one wrong.

In any case, I do want to say thank you to both you and Dan for something that this story highlights that's kinda not being seen and so I want to raise it into the light.

This is the same school that Constance was blamed for no prom at. In some of the stories -- and at least one of the interviews she's done -- Constance made a statement regarding the Principle's explanation of why he wouldn't let her wear a tux to the Prom.

According to her, he wouldn't let her wear a Tux because then he'd have to let some boy wear a dress, and he wasn't going to do that.

That's how she explained it.

Now we find out that from the same school, a young trans kid was sent home twice based on how they appear (the same justification that Dan used to explain why he called McKenna a trans man, which make sit all worse of an insult to trans folk) and the family has been made to feel most unwelcome.


Anyone else have a really good idea of where the Principal got the idea that a boy might want to come to the prom in a dress?

As far as I'm concerned, this sort of thing punches holes in the whole idea of some that Gender and Orientation don't intersect.

Antonia, I had not made that connection between the principal's "dress" comment about prom and Julin. Very wise insight, thank you.

I was wondering about that comment too. It seemed odd at the time - shouldn't bringing a girl to prom be bad enough?

It seems like this principal had something else on his mind that we're just finding out about now. He shouldn't be working in administration anymore.

This sad story doesn't make up for Savage's long history of snarkiness, condescension and ignorance towards trans people and their concerns. Not one whit. I can't even make a joke about it. And yes, I do believe he's using this story to try and diffuse the other crap he's done and... f*ck you Dan.

I feel horrible for this boy (he's using male pronouns now). It's a similar story to that of Jonathan Escobar who was also a gender variant newcomer to his high school and totally rejected. When are the rights of gender variant students going to be protected? Isn't public education a guaranteed right? This isn't just happening in this school, it's happening all over the country. And what isn't being told is how many gender variant kids are forced to drop out of school (like Gwen Araujo had to) because of harassment and lack of teacher, administrator and governmental support. Why aren't regulation about this kind of harassment part of the ironically named "No Child Left Behind"?

Juin and his mother should get in touch with Trans Family Youth Allies (TYFA). This organization works with trans kids. They both need more than just financial support.

So there you have it. If you want to see Dan Savage grovel, click the button below and raise some money for a very worthy cause.

I don't want to see him grovel. I want to see him fired.

You're aiding and abetting his scheme to extort money from the poorest sector of the LGBT community in return for an 'apology' that, even if it turned out to be textually a full apology for what he actually did, would be about as believable as Joe Solmonese's 2007 speech to Southern Comfort.

Silence like a cancer grows.

So does bullshit.


I assume that you mean the trans community, when you talk about the "poorest sector of the LGBT community."

I think you are making a false assumption that only trans people care about helping out trans people.

I have a more idealistic point of view, and believe that anyone with a caring heart, regardless of sexual orientation, political persuasion, opinion about Dan Savage, etc, would read Juin's story and want to contribute to help her family.

Well, you know what they say: let them get away with persecuting those icky trannies, and next thing you know they'll start persecuting real people - gays and lesbians - next.

Trannies aren't real people, are they??

They are already persecuting a Lesbian there...

Kevin Keeney | April 6, 2010 9:35 PM

I donated despite Dan Savage's involvement because it's a good cause.

Karen Eliot | April 10, 2010 5:34 PM

Thank you for having the grace to see beyond Dan Savage's involvement and addressing the real issue: that of helping a person in trouble.

Isn't that what this is supposed to be about?

Okay, this right here is awesomesauce.