Two transgender male students at Burris Laboratory School in Muncie, Indiana have been pulled out of class multiple times to discuss which bathrooms they can use with school administration, Ball State Daily News reports.
The students are Noah Golliher and Leigh Kumpe, both of who used the men's room in the school at the beginning of the year until other students reported them to the administration. Because of this, Golliher and Kumpe have been pulled out of class repeatedly to discuss what bathroom to use, which is not only disruptive academically but also highly personal and embarrassing. After the meetings with administration, a form was sent home to their parents in which they have to fill out their children's preferred name and the facilities that they use.
Immediately I can see two things wrong with this: the school is effectively delegitimizing Golliher and Kumpe's gender identity by having them prove that they are indeed trans (because cisgender people do not have to prove that they're not trans) and that by sending that form to a student's parents, the school may prematurely out that student to parents which may create an unsafe home environment for the student.
The purpose of the form, according to Kathy Wolf, Kathy Wolf, Ball State vice president of marketing and communications, is to facilitate communication between the school and parents.
Golliher identifies as male but was assigned female at birth. He discovered that Burris Laboratory School had an open bathroom policy and began to use the men's room discreetly. Before 2018, the school did not have a policy that required trans students to provide a handwritten note and there is no such policy written in the Burris Laboratory School Student Handbook. Students are trying to get used to the change, but some found that certain school staff members were less eager to accommodate trans students.
One example of this is how the student only has 24 hours to get the form signed from when they receive it. Laura Janney, the co-founder of Muncie OUTreach, an LGBTQ support group, said that if the form isn't signed and delivered within 24 hours, the school's staff will call trans students by their birth name, or, using colloquial nomenclature, their dead names. She believes that this is emotional blackmail and I am inclined to agree with her. Calling a transgender person by the dead name and purposely misgendering them can cause psychologically harmful effects for people who suffer from gender dysphoria.
Janney is working with Golliher and Krumpe to provide support for trans students who are still closeted or feel unsafe revealing their gender identity. If Golliher and Krumpe did not get the permission slips signed, they would be holding in their urine for hours, which is very harmful to the kidneys and can cause a urinary tract infection. However, a student at Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation sued the school for prohibiting him from using the bathroom, as he feels that his Title IX and 14th Amendment rights were violated. The case is currently still active.
Transgender people using the bathroom has been a hot-button issue for years, as many people believe that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity would open the door for predators to take advantage of women and girls, which is simply not true. The form that requires parents to verify their child's gender identity is harmful and embarrassing, and while the purpose of the form (if what Wolf said is indeed true) was created with good intentions, well… we know what the path to hell is paved with.