does disagreeing make you “phobic” and why do people care more about bathrooms than education?
by Carolette Meadows
The Buffalo Public School District (BPS) is the latest district to cause a parents versus LGBT firestorm regarding transgender bathroom accessibility. The policy was constructed as a collaborative effort between the BPS, The Pride Center (Buffalo’s local LGBT advocacy center), and the LGBT community but parents were conveniently not invited to the table which didn’t go over well when the policy was revealed by BPS BOE member Min. Paulette Woods.
Aside from the district, once again and as usual, making decisions without consulting parents and conducting clandestine meetings with community stakeholders who, by and large don’t have children in the schools, there was an even bigger problem. HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU COMPLY WITH A FEDERAL “RECOMMENDATION” FOR TRANS BATHROOM ACCESS IN LESS THAN SIX MONTHS BUT CANNOT COMPLY WITH A FEDERAL “RECOMMENDATION” TO DIVERSIFY SCHOOLS AND INCREASE MINORITY ACCESS TO PERFORMING SCHOOLS AFTER THREE YEARS!!!
What’s even more shameful than the district’s non-compliance in creating equity for children of color ( afterall, when have those in power ever done right by POC without a fight), is that I’ve seen more parents coming out to bitch about some damn bathrooms than to protest the fact that their children of color don’t have equal access to educational programs and services! Since when does the anatomical parts of the child taking a leak next to your child matter more than the nurturing of your child’s brain that would allow them to be a happy, well-adjusted, successful human being?
And where are all the LGBT stakeholders who are so concerned with “discrimination” when we’re fighting for education? There were speakers speaking about death rates for trans people and how disproportionately high it is for trans POC. Well how about the trans community worry about educating black children? If being trans is bad, and being a POC trans is worse, I would imagine that the absolute worst is being an uneducated trans POC!
Let’s not be hypocrites, the LGBT community and its allies unite to fight conservative America, and they should. But the LGBT community discriminates within its own ranks while invoking civil rights. They want to constantly compare themselves to the civil rights movement, to which there is no comparison because the LGBT community has amassed more support, has attained more rights, and gained more ground in it’s very short movement than POC have in over 400 years. But they have some of the same issues within their ranks as Blacks. They have issues with gay men having conflict with lesbians and behind closed doors, the trans community thinks no one, not even other LGB issues should come before their own. The intra-sexual discrimination they experience is much like the light vs dark skin or the curly hair vs kinky hair wars within the Black community.
With that being said, if the LGBT community discriminates within its own ranks, how on earth do you expect the general public to be 100% on board with your demands? More importantly, everyone wants to talk about inclusion, diversity, respect, and tolerance but it seems those concepts are on a one-way street that lead to LGBT paradise. I would imagine many LGBT would proclaim that this is the way it should be because of their suffering. REALLY? Ok, this commentary is being written by a black woman and I SERIOUSLY need you to put your suffering in it’s correct context! To tell Blacks that HAVE to agree with you because our suffering is paralleled is an insult. You have the ability to be a chameleon, if you wish, and no – you shouldn’t have to be. We should all be free to be who we are at all times because who we are is not a choice. At the same time, Blacks aren’t afforded the the ability to “come out.” We are out, from the day we are born and can never go back in.
To accuse us of being “phobic” simply because we don’t agree with everything you want is a disservice to both civil and LGBT rights. True “phobia” is fear not a simple, “I don’t like it so I won’t support it.” To project “fear” onto to people that don’t want to give you your way is not only selfish (because you won’t compromise) it’s destructive. Real progress cannot be made in the face of passive-aggressive manipulation. No lasting understanding develops if you guilt me into compliance.
Yes, children see nudity on tv and the internet. Does that mean a parent should support it being up front and personal in a shower? Yes, WNY has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in NYS so for sure, sex is not something they’re shy about. No, trans kids are not out to “molest” other children any more than children already “molest” each other. Yes, the “sex in the bathroom” fear is misplaced because some of these kids are already having sex in the bathroom, behind the bleachers in the gym, and any other place in school they can find 5 minutes of privacy.
There are also children that are very open and embracing to ALL children and even though they may see nudity, aren’t comfortable being nude with others. This falls in line with, “Trans kids are often ashamed of their bodies. They often won’t shower because they’re not comfortable being in a body they don’t identify with and don’t want others to see it.” Well now, again we have hypocrisy because you’re saying they want privacy due to shame but when parents advocate for privacy that don’t have trans children, the trans community yells, “PHOBIAS” and then flips their script to, “trans kids should have the right to go where they want and shouldn’t have to go in a private room.” Well damn, can you make up your minds?!?!?!
The issue of privacy is not new, it’s just that the LGBT movement has allowed it to finally move to the forefront of discussions. Many kids have gone without showers because during their awkward teenage development, they didn’t want their developing bodies on display in the open, prison-like showers that are made available in public schools. If the LGBT community is honest, they know some adults that used to be those kinds of kids.
What’s the bottom line? We’re fighting for the same things! I was always taught life is about compromise. Sometimes life isn’t fair and no one person or group can have it all. If the LGBT community would stop being so “phobic” every time a parent says “privacy” and parents stop saying very stupid things like “pedophile” and “molestation,” we might actually find that we can find a very happy middle ground that works for everyone involved no matter if speaking from a point of rights, advocacy, fear, or simple personal preference.
The most inclusive non-discriminatory concept I can conceive is to leave the bathrooms as they are with full access and for the prison-like bathrooms to be reformed by either erecting curtains or stalls. If adults go to the gym and have shower stalls, why don’t children? Are the any less of a person than the general population that their privacy needs are overlooked?
Meadows’ is a Community Activist. This is her 4th column for the bullet.