Transgender kids are going to have an easier time going to school in California. The state just became the first to give transgender children certain rights that aren't available everywhere. Some of the rights transgender kids grades K-12 will now have? Transgender kids can now use whichever bathroom or locker room they want. They can also choose whether they want to play girls' or boys' sports. Transgender advocates are happy about the change -- but not everyone is.
Supporters of the bill say that this will help eliminate bullying and discrimination. Let's face it, if you're a boy who dresses like a girl and who identifies as a girl, it would suck to have to use the boys' bathroom or locker room. It must be confusing enough what a transgender kid is going through without being "girl" in the classroom and at home but "boy" in the locker room.
On the other hand, detractors say that this infringes upon the privacy of other students. So I guess if you're a girl and that "girl" (who was born a boy) comes into the locker room, it could be uncomfortable.
I very much doubt any kid who was born a boy decides to become a girl so he can snatch a peek inside the girls' locker room or bathroom. That would be a HUGE change to take on in your life just to see a bit of frilly panty. Which, if you're wearing them, you could look at anyway.
But what about kids who haven't quite figured it out yet? Last week, I was standing outside with a friend when her friend, and her friend's young daughter, stopped by to say hello. When they left, I said something to the effect of, "What a cute girl," and my friend replied, "That's a boy."
"That's a boy?!" I exclaimed, watching the boy with the striped tights and a pink and blue skirt walk away with his mom. Apparently the little boy (about 3 years old, I guess) liked to dress up like a girl. Sometimes. Other times, he dresses like a boy. His mom lets him decide which he wants that day.
So which bathroom would he use? Would it depend on his mood? Would he be considered a transgender kid? When you get as young as kindergarten, kids like this haven't had hormone treatments or surgery -- they just might prefer to dress like a girl, be called by a girl's name, and play with traditionally girls' toys. But does that mean the boy really identifies as female? As a kid, I wore pants, played with trucks, and occasionally liked to be called "Peter" (as in Peter Pan), but never had any doubt I was a girl and liked being a girl. (I also never thought to use the boys' bathroom -- ew!)
On the other hand, young kids of the opposite sex using each other's bathrooms isn't a big deal. They do it at home. Presumably, by the time kids like this little boy get to high school, he will know what sex he identifies as. It all gets a little confusing, but at the end of the day, kids being able to identify as the sex they want will save them from being depressed and suicidal down the line.
Do you agree with the California bill?
Image via Smithwithclass/Flickr