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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Transgender Teen Walks Into Girls' Locker Room... 150 Students Walk Out.

#LGBTQ #LGBT #Schools #Students #Teens #GayRights #Politics #Protest #KMOV #LilaPerry #Controversy
 

   Trangender teen Lila Perry, a student at Hillsboro High School in Missouri, recently requested that she be allowed to use the ladies' changing rooms instead of a unisex one. Lila, who is now 17, has identified as a female since age 13.

   While the school has been accommodating to her situation, many of her fellow students are not entirely comfortable with her request. Over 150 students walked out of school, in protest, for about two hours. Another 30-40 counter-protesters also showed up to show their support for Perry.
"There's a lot of ignorance, they're claiming that they're uncomfortable," Perry told KMOV, "I don't believe for a second that they are. I think this is pure and simple bigotry."
   Everyone has the right to a safe and comfortable school environment. But is Lila a victim of discrimination?

   Lila came out as transgender last year. She has used (and plans to continue using) the ladies' restroom. When she requested to use the ladies' locker room in gym class, the school offered her a private, gender-neutral changing room. Lila turned them down; stating that she was a girl, too, and shouldn't have to be pushed off to another bathroom.

   The school has been more than fair. They're in compliance with Title IX which protects transgender students from discrimination. They're also handling the situation discreetly; declining to comment for KMOV, and linking to a letter from the Superintendent, Dr. Aaron D. Cornman "Regarding recent public concerns" on their website. Hillsboro High School is certainly not guilty of discrimination.

   Attention, then, turns to the students who staged the walk-out. The students have been accused of being bigots and liars, because they claim to be uncomfortable. My question is: why is it so unbelievable that they would be uncomfortable? People are entitled to their own opinions and feelings. Nobody is trying to kick Lila Perry out of the school, or keep him from becoming a her. They're just drawing attention to the fact that it's wrong to disregard the feelings of an entire locker-room full of teens, just to spare one person's feelings.

   Additionally, the protesting students handled their difference of opinion very maturely. They didn't resort to violence or hate speech. They didn't riot, or harass, or bully. They made their statement by simply walking out, peacefully, as is their right. It was a civil and powerful reminder that they have rights and feelings, too.

   That message wasn't lost on the public. When former Star Trek actor, and prominent gay rights supporter George Takei shared the story on his facebook page, thousands of the page's fans showed sympathy for the students. It was inspiring to see the support shown for a group of young people who fought for what they believed in with class.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to check out some of my other posts. Here's what I recommend now:
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