Standing Up for a Transgender High School Student

The following letter was recently sent to a local school board in the United States to side with an ACLU complaint against it and to support the needs of a transgender student in a public high school under the authority of the school board. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a transgender K-12 student in a similar predicament in an American public high school, you have our permission to use this letter and its verbatim wording as a model to craft your own protest letter to your local school board in support of your student’s transgender restroom needs at school and to support any complaint the ACLU has filed against your school board.

Be sure and tell the school board you are a Christian and tell them your Christian denomination.  If you are not an LGBTQ person yourself, tell them that too.  In our opinion, school boards with elected fundie board members tend to dismiss letters like this out-of-hand if they are sent by an atheist, agnostic, “none,” or LGBTQ person. They will see you as just another vile sinner standing up for an equally vile sin that is going to bring the USA to ruins.  If the letter comes from a heterosexual Christian, you are much more likely to be taken seriously.

Please be advised that this letter has been slightly edited from the original letter, and the names of people and places have been changed.

May 29, 2016

Ms. Bess Doe

Thomas County Board of Education

695 East Johnson Street

Heborn, KY 41102

Dear Ms. Doe:

Today I noticed an article in The Kentuckian newspaper saying the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a legal complaint against the Thomas County Board of Education. This complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education. The complaint alleges the Thomas County Board of Education has violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 (a).  The complaint states that “Thomas County receives federal funding assistance and is subject to that law. Thomas County’s Procedural Guidance regarding Transgender Students and any action taken to enforce it are unlawful.”  It is my understanding that the ACLU filed this complaint on behalf of a 9th grade transgender student (male to female) who feels the need to use the regular female restroom and female physical education change facilities in her school. As an alumnus of the Thomas County Schools and as a member of the United Methodist Church, I would like to say that I personally agree with and support the ACLU complaint against the Thomas County Board of Education.  In this regard, I would like to make a few key points:

(1) Although this letter is addressed to you (Bess Doe) as the current Chair of the Thomas County Board of Education, please consider this letter to also be addressed to Dr. Don G. Doe and all the members on the Thomas County Board of Education.

(2) Requiring a transgender student to use a special unisex restroom or a special faculty restroom singles out that student from all other students in the school. The other students will inevitably notice this student is the only student using a special restroom.  This will signal the entire student body that she is a transgender student, which is a violation of student privacy rights and parental privacy rights if they wish to keep the student’s transgender condition confidential.

(3)  Once a transgender student is singled out by their use of this special unisex restroom or a special faculty restroom, and the other students know she is transgender, this student will be singled out for cruel bullying by the students in the school—and such bullying will occur—regardless of any school policy against bullying.  It will be like forcing the student to wear a sandwich board advertisement that says: “Kick Me and Treat Me Cruelly.”  In another recent newspaper article, a transgender student at Heborn Tentee High School noted that she had actually been bullied for a period of about two months after her fellow students discovered that she was transgender.  In my opinion, the Thomas County Board of Education already knows transgender students will be singled out by unusual restroom use, and the Thomas County schools already have at least one student who reports being bullied because she is transgender.  Therefore, logically, I can only conclude that this bullying and cruelty is what the Thomas County Board of Education wants to see happen to transgender students.  The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education are almost certain to see this in the same way and come to the same logical conclusion.

(4)  I grew up in Heborn for 18 years and graduated from Heborn Senior High School in 1971, before going off to The University of Kentucky to earn an undergraduate and a graduate degree in anthropology.  I know the historical, cultural, and social environment of Thomas County like I know the back of my own hand.  In particular, I know local religion in Thomas County.  Although you people on the Thomas County Board of Education have hidden it well for legal purposes, I believe and you know that this transgender policy of yours is religiously motivated at its very root. A number of you on the school board attend Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches.  In my opinion, you believe deep in your hearts that transgender students are especially evil sinners because they have violated God’s basic gender design as set forth in the Holy Bible—and they deserve punishment for their sin rather than loving accommodation at school—and you are going to create conditions that will allow such punishment to naturally occur through school bullying.  Moreover, a number of you believe God will punish you one day if you do not resist transgender rights and full Title IX accommodations in the Thomas County Schools.  I am not blind on this, and the ACLU, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Department of Education are not blind on this.  You can be assured that the ACLU-requested federal agency investigation will get to the true bottom of this matter.

(5)  I must remind you that all members of the Thomas County Board of Education and all school employees are seen by the federal courts as government officials rather than ordinary citizens.  Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you do not have the legal right to persecute a transgender student because that student’s transgender condition violates the tenets of your personally held religious beliefs or faith—or those of the majority of your constituents in Thomas County.  The transgender students and their parents have rights too—and the ACLU is going to make sure you fully respect them.  The Thomas County Board of Education has already run afoul of the U.S. District Court for Central Kentucky by presiding over illegal and unconstitutional religious activities in the Thomas County Schools.  If a federal judge ever determines that your actions regarding transgender students are religiously motivated, which is likely to come out at some point in a contentious ACLU legal action plastered all over the newspapers, the U.S. District Court is within its rights to fine school administrators and/or send them to prison—as you well know from the final terms of your last settlement agreement with the ACLU.

(6)  I am a heterosexual family man with two heterosexual children.  I say that to let you know that I am not an LGBTQ citizen who is trying to defend the members of his own tribe.  However, being an expert on matters of social science, I can tell you with reasonable certainty that the LGBTQ genie is permanently out of his bottle.  Neither the Southern Baptist Convention nor any other entity or person is ever going to be able to reinsert him—no matter how hard they try.  Regardless of whether transgenderism is a sin in the Bible, Jesus requires his followers to love their neighbors as themselves (Mark 12:31).  This includes your transgender neighbors who are students in your public schools and the parents of these transgender students.  Singling those transgender students out (whether intentional or unintentional), which will inevitably subject them to bullying, is an act of hatred against ones transgender neighbors rather than an act of love—as Jesus requires of you.  I hope you will remember that in your policy deliberations and when the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education descend on you with a Title IX compliance investigation.

(7)  As I told Dr. Don G. Doe once before with regard to your previous encounter with the ACLU, there is no way the Thomas County Board of Education is going to prevail in this Title IX complaint—and if Hillary Clinton wins the next Presidential election, which seems likely, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education are going to fall on the Thomas County Board of Education like a ton of bricks in enforcement of Title IX. That is my honest opinion as an ordinary citizen and a taxpayer in Kentucky.

(8)  You members of the Thomas County Board of Education need to understand that many of the irate telephone calls and e-mail messages you are receiving from parents who do not have transgender students are religiously and politically motivated.  Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are really angry at the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage last summer.  Unable to take out their desire for vengeance on the members of the High Court, the members of Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches (along with some politicians) are attempting to take out that vengeance on the taxpaying LGBTQ citizens of Kentucky. This is persecution plain and simple—just like the persecution the Roman government inflicted on Christians in ancient times.  If we take seriously the admonition of Jesus to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” I do not see how any Christians today could feel good about inflicting the same kind of governmental persecution on transgender and gay students in our public schools.  I hope you will keep this in mind as you move forward.

(9)  I also hope you will educate yourselves, all your students, and the parents of all your students on the fact that transgender students in the restrooms of the gender they identify with do not pose a risk to other students.  An XY male student saturated with female hormones, having fully developed breasts, having surgically recarved genitalia, and being fully dressed and made up as a girl does not pose any restroom rape threat to a nontransgender female student.  The truth of the matter is that all of us have been using the same restrooms with transgender people safely for many, many, many years, and we were never aware that transgender people were in the restrooms with us.  We were safe then.  We are all safe now, and it will continue to be safe as it always has been.

(10) I know some of you are hoping the Kentucky legislature and Governor Hilton Rowe will come into a special legislative session and pass a state law that will allow the Thomas County Board of Education to keep its current policy and rules on transgender restroom use.  In this regard, I would like to kindly call your attention to an item in the original and unamended portion of the U.S. Constitution.  Its official legal name is the Supremacy Clause, and it reads as follows:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

This means no state, county, or city legislative body or state, county, or city court has the power to nullify, overturn, or reverse (in whole or in part) any federal law, federal regulation (which has the power of law), or federal court ruling.  By the U.S. Constitution, federal law, federal regulations, and federal court rulings are the Supreme Law of the Land.  This means the Kentucky legislature and Governor Rowe are essentially powerless against Title IX, and any action they take against transgender students will inevitably be overturned by the federal courts. The Kentucky District Attorney may file a lawsuit against the federal government over transgender student rights, but in my opinion, the state is unlikely to prevail.

If famous founding father Alexander Hamilton were alive today, he would almost certainly side with Title IX enforcement against the Thomas County Board of Education. Throughout his life of public service, he was strongly in favor of an all-powerful, centralized Government of the United States wherein only minimal authorities were accorded to the states.  Personally, I agree with Mr. Hamilton on that because of the “good ole boy” cronyism and “Boss Hog” populism that runs rife in state and local governments—and tends to appeal to, elevate, and legislate the worst base instincts of a largely uneducated and misinformed populace. If you do not think we have a poorly educated and misinformed populace in Kentucky and Thomas County, just ask a few random citizens to point to Iowa on an unlabeled map of the United States.

(11)  If the Thomas County Board of Education opens up the ACLU complaint process and/or its transgender policy and rules to public comments, I would kindly request that you include this letter in your public comment docket as a formal written comment on this process, the policy, and any related school rules.

(12)  As a taxpayer in Kentucky whose tax dollars go toward supporting the Thomas County Schools, I would just like to say that the opinions I have registered with you throughout this letter are an exercise of my rights of free speech on governmental affairs under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 Sincerely,

Insert Y. Name

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