PDA

View Full Version : Maine lawmakers attempt to ban gender specific bathrooms and sports in schools.



mrblackmagic
14th April 10, 10:15 AM
It's from Fox News. Beware of slippery slopes.


Maine Commission Moves to Ban Gender Specific Bathrooms, Sports Teams in Schools

By Diane Macedo

- FOXNews.com

The Maine Human Rights Commissions taking heat over a proposal to ban schools from enforcing gender divisions in sports teams, school organizations, bathrooms and locker rooms, saying forcing a student into a particular room or group because of their biological gender amounts to discrimination.



The little girls' room won't be just for little girls anymore, if the Maine Human Rights Commission has its way.

The commission is taking heat over a controversial proposal to ban schools from enforcing gender divisions in sports teams, school organizations, bathrooms and locker rooms. It says forcing a student into a particular room or group because of his or her biological gender amounts to discrimination.

The issue came to light last year when the commission ruled that, under the Maine Human Rights Act, a school had discriminated against a 12-year-old transgender boy by denying him access to the girls' bathroom.

Now the commission aims to issue guidelines on how schools should deal with similar situations in the future. It would make Maine the first state to implement such guidelines for schools as young as preschool and nursery -- and even some private schools.

But not everyone in the state is on board with the current proposal.

Some school districts and organizations have criticized the commission for making its initial ruling without getting enough input from conservative groups, and then for coming up with proposed guidelines in what some described as closed-door sessions.

"The conservative side was never brought in on the discussion in the first place, if you look at who gave testimony, written testimony, etc., in the beginning,” Rev. Bob Celeste of Harrison told FoxNews.com. “When you only bring one side in, you’re not looking for an honest debate. You’re looking for an agenda.”

Once it came time to vote on the guidelines, the commission again came under fire for not doing enough to inform Mainers of the vote, and for not allowing the public to speak at the hearing where it was held.

“We found out about this hearing by accident. We were never informed of it,” said Celeste, who was the first person to speak out at the March hearing.

“When I went to the hearing I expected to ask, ‘Why are they doing this?’ And they said that they weren’t going to have public hearings,” he said. “I said ‘Mr. Chairman, it’s getting late, when are we going to be able to ask questions?’ and he said, ‘You can’t.’”

Celeste says he then walked out of the meeting, but other outraged citizens got very vocal after his departure and apparently persuaded the commission to postpone the vote.

Now those critics are looking to get their voices heard again at a public hearing on the issue next month.

"When we separate biology it gets very confusing for everyone," Mike Heath, president of the American Family Association of New England, told FoxNews.com. "Now we're talking about bathrooms where ladies will entertain the possibility of men being in the restroom with them, and every woman I've talked to has indicated that they wouldn't be comfortable with that."

With the law affecting schools ranging from nursery level to post-doctorate studies, Heath says he's concerned with the ramifications of opening up "this can of worms," especially when it comes to younger students.

“I get a little more upset with the topic when it touches on young children and what they’re going to have to think about and process,” he said.

Critics seem especially concerned about the mixing of genders in bathrooms and locker rooms. The commission's proposal reads: "Transgender students must be allowed access to the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity or expression or, if they prefer, to existing single-stall bathrooms."

"There's not a whole lot of places a girl can expect privacy, but the bathroom should be one of them," said Celeste. "And there's not a whole lot of places a boy expects privacy, but the bathroom should be one of them. Married couples close the door when they go to the bathroom.”

Ken Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services, says the guidelines set out in the commission's draft brochure pose some serious safety issues as well.

"If my kid walks into a girls' bathroom and sees a man in there, the child is going to instinctively feel that something’s wrong. If you create an entirely new climate where anything goes, you’re going to create increased confusion, and those with ill intentions could take advantage of that confusion and decreased ability to make a distinction," Trump told FoxNews.com.

"The reality is, every day we’re seeing more and more cases of exploitation of children and others, and this would be creating an environment where the risk is increased for that exploitation."

Because the commission suggests that people won't be obligated to supply medical documentation that proves they are transgender, Trump says the policy also paves the way for increased sexual activity on school grounds – both consensual and non-consensual.

"Educators at the middle school level struggle every day in trying to keep student hormonal issues under control so that the focus can be on education," he said. "We certainly don’t need to create an environment to accelerate and exacerbate the issue and further the experimentation, the inappropriate comments, inappropriate touching, groping, grabbing, sexual assaults and in some cases, rapes in schools."

Karen Kemble, the Director of Equal Opportunity for the University of Maine, says the university has not taken a position for or against the proposed guidelines, but she shared concerns over some of them, including schools' inability to ask for "proof" of sexual orientation.

"This would leave the institution without any way to determine the bona fide nature of the gender identity or expression," Kemble said in a letter to the commission.

"It is routine practice to seek documentation of non-obvious disabilities in the event of an accommodation request. Even in the case of religious accommodations, an employer may sometimes seek additional information regarding either the religious nature of the request or the sincerity of a particular belief," she added.

As an NCAA institution, Kemble says the University of Maine system could also face many hurdles when it comes to incorporating the guidelines into its athletic program.

"Some of the issues that we face are that the NCAA has rules that if we, for example, allowed a transgender student to participate in gender-segregated sport, then that may raise concerns about fairness and also may spark action by the NCAA, she said.

"We certainly want to have a welcoming environment and are doing everything we can to support the right to gender identity and gender expression," she added.

John Gause, counsel for the Maine Human Rights Commission, told FoxNews.com that the commission is still in the process of developing guidelines on how the Maine Human Rights Act "applies in the context of sexual orientation in schools and colleges."

"A date and location for the public comment session will be finalized in the near future," he wrote in an e-mail.

The commission said more information on the public hearing will be posted on its Web site once those details are finalized.

Neither Gause nor the commission's executive director, Pat Ryan, returned follow-up e-mails and phone calls seeking a response to concerns raised over the guidelines.



http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/08/maine-commission-moves-ban-gender-specific-school-bathrooms-teams/I will be honest with you. I think the idea is ridiculous.

The kid should be accommodated. I don't disagree with that. It's simply that his identity issues and how he perceives himself should not have an impact on all the other students. That's just too large a concession for an outlier from a practical standpoint.

Also, I don't like introducing that particular gender issue into elementary school. It's hard enough trying to figure out what society expects of you these days, without adults pushing their own agendas on you. People shouldn't be letting 12 years make like affirming decisions like that.

Ajamil
14th April 10, 11:11 AM
"There's not a whole lot of places a girl can expect privacy, but the bathroom should be one of them," said Celeste. "And there's not a whole lot of places a boy expects privacy, but the bathroom should be one of them. Married couples close the door when they go to the bathroom.”And if the girl happens to have a penis, well she's SOL. Also, I love the "cuz Puritan!" bit tacked on the end there.

Man what a shit-pile this is. If it were at all cost-effective, I'd say scrap the multi-person bathroom system if they really want to "tackle this issue. Other than that, perhaps a "special cases bathroom" with access granted on a case-by-case basis. Maybe an electronic lock on the door. But really the whole thing just seems stupid to me. Let the nancy-boy into the women's bathroom and don't try to make a law about it.

Also, the sports thing should be a separate law altogether, and should be passed. Girls who can be competitive in men's sports should be allowed to do so, and their parents should educate them in the social implications. Boys too, but I doubt most boys would actively seek placement in the female sports. If you worry about idiot kids who just want to grope their female wrestling opponent, then watch them for attitude: are they there to play sports, or are they there to gawk and grope? If the latter, kick them out.

The sex thing I think has no implication on this. School kids are having sex all the time, but rarely at school. Banning unisex bathrooms won't stop them from simply sneaking off-campus. Also, if you want to go that route, why not worry about gays in the mewn's locker room, or bull-dykes raping princesses in the female bathrooms? Do we need to implement an orientation identification program in schools? Will we have a DADT policy?

Two things I wonder if this actually made it through. Is the transgender child ostracized at her school? If so - do you think getting unisex bathrooms available will make her more or less liked by the student population?

HappyOldGuy
14th April 10, 11:35 AM
Gender identity issues in the world are tricky and don't always have easy answers. You accomodate as much as you possibly can, but you don't do silly stuff. Since you ultimately have to make laws (because people are shit flinging monkeys) I really like the approach of the ADA and similar laws that try to force people to come to a reasonable agreement without trying to push any one size fits all solution. Based on the FOX article (heaping piles of salt), it seems like they are trying to cookie cutter this, and that's not a good idea.

Cullion
14th April 10, 03:12 PM
Once they desegregate the bathrooms and showers, will it be ageist to keep middle-aged men out?

Spade: The Real Snake
14th April 10, 03:18 PM
Once they desegregate the bathrooms and showers, will it be ageist to keep middle-aged men out?

I am more concerned with the possibility of Lebell becoming a resident of Maine

MrGalt
14th April 10, 07:28 PM
I honestly think my high school would have had more on-campus sex without segregated bathrooms than it would have with. If some of the kids I knew didn't even have to worry about being seen sneaking in or out together I do think they'd have done it more. That of course is the school's problem because in America I can see a school being held liable for damages after hosting underage sexual activity if they didn't show that they had done their due diligence to prevent it. That's silly too, but it is a real factor.

In this case though I'm not seeing where anybody real said that they're going to take down the Boys and Girls signs and let everybody pile in. I can't imagine every school in Maine even has one transgender kid, at least not one who's going to say so, so how much impact could this have?

Steve
14th April 10, 11:11 PM
Kids are kids. Even if the bathrooms/lockers/whatever aren't "gender" specific, the kids will sort out who gets to use which on their own. It'd be like having private club houses for all the cliques that inevitably develop through the course of their education.

I say go for it. It would at least make for a more interesting show than Saved by the Bell.

Harpy
14th April 10, 11:44 PM
This is why single-sex schools are the way to go. Transgender kid can choose either or and at puberty, if he/she doesn't bleed, has to go to a boys' school.

Cullion
17th April 10, 08:05 AM
bull-dykes raping princesses in the female bathrooms?

I worry about this all the fuckin time dude. Too much in fact.

Cullion
17th April 10, 08:07 AM
On a serious note, is it really the case that large numbers of transgender kids have been oppressed by not being allowed to use the other bathroom?

In sufficient numbers to warrant the annoyance and embarrassment this will cause everybody else ?

Sounds like nonsensical cockwaft to me. Only very wealthy and deeply neurotic people have the luxury of worrying about inane things like this.

Boys and girls aren't the same. Relax and accept it.

Shotgun Christening
17th April 10, 08:26 AM
This is why single-sex schools are the way to go. Transgender kid can choose either or and at puberty, if he/she doesn't bleed, has to go to a boys' school.

Disagree
Agree

If you have a penis you are a male. If you have a vagina you are a female.
If you are a male you use the mens room. If you are a female you use the womens room.

Why do people have to make it difficult?


On Sports:

If a girl wants to play football with the boys let her. What does it hurt? She will quickly find out that there is a reason that there are men and womens divisions in sports.

The local soccer league recently had to divide the teams into girls league and boys league from the age of 13 and up. Why? The girls were getting their ankles broken by the boys in misplaced kicks and slide tackles. It became a safety issue.

Harpy
17th April 10, 09:22 AM
Let's say your child is transgender and just starting school. Would you as parents make the effort to educate school staff and students to aid 'assimilation'? (the only answer here is 'yes')

However as we all know, school can ne s decade long trial of fire for many students. I can't imagine the challenges a parent would have with a transgender child or what choices they have (eg. How early to intervene with hormone therapy/surgery, whose choice is it? etc).

FickleFingerOfFate
17th April 10, 09:32 AM
Am I horribly out of touch in thinking that the number of trans-gender students starting school (Kindergarten = age 5-ish) is ridiculously small, and unworthy of sweeping policy? Most schools I have been in recently have one or two single bathrooms, that are not gender specific in them.

BTW, barring genetic mutations, are there that many 5 y/o kids suffering psychological trauma from being trapped in the wrong gender body?

TheMightyMcClaw
17th April 10, 09:53 AM
Once they desegregate the bathrooms and showers, will it be ageist to keep middle-aged men out?

Yes, but age discrimination is acceptable in a public school environment.

Kein Haar
17th April 10, 10:11 AM
Fuck THAT, and fuck YOU.

mrblackmagic
17th April 10, 10:37 AM
Am I horribly out of touch in thinking that the number of trans-gender students starting school (Kindergarten = age 5-ish) is ridiculously small, and unworthy of sweeping policy? Most schools I have been in recently have one or two single bathrooms, that are not gender specific in them.

BTW, barring genetic mutations, are there that many 5 y/o kids suffering psychological trauma from being trapped in the wrong gender body?

It's too hard to tell at 5 because children haven't been able to differentiate fully between their own perception and reality.

Shotgun Christening
17th April 10, 01:01 PM
Am I horribly out of touch in thinking that the number of trans-gender students starting school (Kindergarten = age 5-ish) is ridiculously small, and unworthy of sweeping policy? Most schools I have been in recently have one or two single bathrooms, that are not gender specific in them.

Do we want to know why you have been visiting elementary school bathrooms?



BTW, barring genetic mutations, are there that many 5 y/o kids suffering psychological trauma from being trapped in the wrong gender body?


Hemaphrodite is different than transgender. In that case there needs to be some concessions made, but I doubt the hermaphrodite child will want to broadcast to the world that it can literally go fuck themself.

Shotgun Christening
17th April 10, 01:02 PM
Fuck THAT, and fuck YOU.


They wouldnt give you your own bathroom would they? Its ok, one day we will accept you as you are.

:)

Cullion
17th April 10, 01:14 PM
Let's say your child is transgender and just starting school. Would you as parents make the effort to educate school staff and students to aid 'assimilation'? (the only answer here is 'yes')

However as we all know, school can ne s decade long trial of fire for many students. I can't imagine the challenges a parent would have with a transgender child or what choices they have (eg. How early to intervene with hormone therapy/surgery, whose choice is it? etc).

I don't think I'd be self-important or fucking stupid enough to insist that all the other kids at the school had to share toilet and changing facilities across genders to make my special little snowflake feel a bit more comfortable.

Nor would I be stupid enough to think that would stop other kids telling my transgender kid that they were a freak. The special arrangements centered around them would be likely to heighten it, actually. Genuine transexuality is not common enough to be worth reorganising an entire social norm of our society around.

It's enough to teach kids to be tolerant. Telling them that they have to compromise their own ideas about cross-gender privacy for the one in x-thousand is unreasonable.

I sometimes wonder how stupid people are becoming that this even has to be debated.

Cullion
17th April 10, 01:15 PM
Yes, but age discrimination is acceptable in a public school environment.

So is gender discrimination. The football and soccer team cases are obvious examples where it makes sense, and there's absolutely no way that my daughter should be forced to get changed in front of boys, especially after she hits puberty, just so one kid in a 20 mile radius can feel that their unusual gender issues don't stand out quite so much (when of course they still will, perhaps moreso now that all the other kids are aware that they had their sexual privacy taken away just for their benefit).

Shotgun Christening
17th April 10, 04:09 PM
I don't think I'd be self-important or fucking stupid enough to insist that all the other kids at the school had to share toilet and changing facilities across genders to make my special little snowflake feel a bit more comfortable.

Nor would I be stupid enough to think that would stop other kids telling my transgender kid that they were a freak. The special arrangements centered around them would be likely to heighten it, actually. Genuine transexuality is not common enough to be worth reorganising an entire social norm of our society around.

It's enough to teach kids to be tolerant. Telling them that they have to compromise their own ideas about cross-gender privacy for the one in x-thousand is unreasonable.

I sometimes wonder how stupid people are becoming that this even has to be debated.


This can be applied to lots of other social issues as well. Well said.