Over the past few weeks we've seen much of what the unintended consequences of draconian anti-LGBTQ laws can do to a state. Businesses pull out, banks freeze expansions, rock bands cancel, entire film crews refuse to show up, and billions in federal funding for schools, highways and housing is blocked, because that money hinges on a state not discriminating against its citizens.
For the most part laws like North Carolina's bathroom bill are conceived of and written by sexually frustrated older white men who think that being transgender is a perverted choice by male sexual predators who want to skulk around female locker rooms and bathrooms. For them it's a perversion.
"This is that concept of 'othering' us," said Amy Hunter, Coordinator of the ACLU Transgender Advocacy Project. "The typical trope is that transgender women are really just perverted men who put on women's clothes to do something untoward in the women's restroom
Former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee thought it was funny during a campaign speech to say, "I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.'"
And what about the unintended consequences of writing laws that only consider a small segment of a larger population?
In a Mother Jones article titled, "I'm a Transgender Man in North Carolina. Here's What the Bathroom Law Means for Me" Charlie Comero, a 35-year-old transgender man in Charlotte, North Carolina describes what the new laws mean to him. Think about that. Imagine being a man and being forced by law to use the woman's restroom. Now imagine being a father and sending your eight-year-old daughter into a restroom and seeing a man walk out five minutes later. Let that sink in. Take your time. Think about how that father feels. Now think about how Charlie Comero feels. I'll let you read the rest of the article over at MoJo.
Kids in school are equally affected by laws such as this; and, in Michigan, the ACLU is making sure that they are protected and don't go down the same road as other states.
Every student has the right to learn in a safe and accepting school environment. A supportive, respectful learning atmosphere for transgender students gives them the equal opportunity for success that every student deserves. Parents, schools, and lawmakers working together as a team is the best way to ensure that every student, regardless of their gender identity, will receive the support they need to achieve. The draft guidelines from the State Board of Education will promote an enriching educational experience that makes achievement much more possible for transgender students.
The board of education had proposed a set of policies to make Michigan schools more inclusive for students, should they be adopted by the local school boards. They were developed by the State Board of Education in response to requests from school districts and parents. The ACLU statement was in response to the uproar which ensued after they were released.
Over the course of the last month, the Michigan State Board of Education has accepted public comments for consideration in person, via phone, or in writing. During one meeting in particular, students literally begged the board to consider the proposal. Amy Hunter, during a recent guest appearance on T&Z Talk said, "I was in attendance at that board meeting and the kids' testimony was incredibly powerful. There were folks in tears it was so powerful," when relating what she had witnessed at that meeting.
You can listen to the entire interview with Amy Hunter on T&Z Talk below.
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