Few topics have brought about such polarized opinions in recent weeks, as the transgender directive that the State of Michigan Board of Education proposed earlier this year. The directive aims to allow transgender students to use the gender specific bathroom that aligns with their personal beliefs.
The meeting, which took place in Lansing, had more than 100 attendees, many of whom wanted to testify before the Board regarding their personal views on the matter. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of middle ground on this matter. It seems people are either very against, or very in favor of, the way in which the directive proposes handling LGBT and transgender issues in schools.
Board President John Austin spoke in favor of the change, and claimed that certain people who are opposed are simply creating fear around an issue where none is warranted. “Some of this is just deliberately fanning fears of transgender people.” he announced at the meeting, “But some of it is perhaps not acknowledging that it’s a reality, it’s not a choice, and there have always been transgender people among us and children.”
On the reverse side, many do not accept this as fact. One man testified before the board, saying that by pushing this agenda the Board was pushing child abuse. This perspective is one that the American College of Pediatrics supports. In a report entitled Gender Ideology Harms Children, the ACP states that “Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”
Another person who testified was a former student who said that being gay, and having this knowledge being made public in school, had caused them a great deal of grief. Bullying and targeting of LGBT students in not a new phenomenon, and is a large part of what this proposal hopes to address in schools.
Lupe Ramos-Montigny, one of the Board members present during the meeting, reminded people that if the Board does anything, it will be simply to provide guidelines, not laws. Additionally, she pointed out that each school will be free to choose the directives they put in place for dealing with their LGBT and transgender student population.
The Board has promised to consider all comments from the voting public before making their decision. However, a decision will not be made until at least August on this year.