Transgender Rights stalled by Trump


Alexa Lee, Staff

During his presidency, Barack Obama passed guidelines that granted transgender students and citizens the right to use the bathroom of their gender identity. In an executive order, President Donald Trump has rescinded the guidelines made by the former president. The debate over which bathroom or locker room transgender individuals should use is a large and growing controversy in the United States, and is particularly affecting students. Causing the panic of trans individuals and their loved ones across the nation, anxiety grows as the consequences of escaping dysphoria become dire. This blatant removal of orders has not only affected students plural, but the court case of one student particular.

Gavin Grimm, one transgender student of Gloucester Virginia, took this debate nearly to the Supreme Court, but was shut down as a result of the actions of President Trump. His school denied him the bathroom of his gender identity, confining him to the bathroom of his birth identity. Dissatisfied with the insensitivity of his district’s rules, Gavin was persistent in court to gain the right to use the bathroom that matched his gender identity. His case collected a great deal of attention from media, gaining support and fueling opposition. Ultimately, the case of Gavin Grimm was rejected by Supreme Court as a result of the rescinding, casting it back to the lower court. Schools around the country now have the decision to deny transgender students the access to the bathroom of their gender identity, so then where does JM stand on LGBT+ matters?

There are safe spaces for LGBT+ students at JM, which includes the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club. The GSA accepts students that support the idea of moving past the conflict between people of different sexualities and genders. One leader of the club, Milnely Rivera Vigo, states, “Honestly, this bathroom crisis shouldn’t even be an issue. A bathroom is literally for people to do their business and go, they don’t need to linger…”, “But I realize that’s not how others think.” Efforts are made by staff regularly to ensure the safety of the LGBT+ students at JM.

“Danger and humiliation results from these transphobic laws. We as people deserve more than this; we deserve natural rights” said JM freshman Darren Smith. There are eighteen states considering bathroom bills, Minnesota included. The question of where Rochester Public Schools stands in this debate lies unanswered. When asked about the policy of Rochester Public Schools for transgender students, Superintendent Michael Muñoz declined to comment. Tim Limberg, Principal of John Marshall clarified, “We do not have a policy for the transgender students. Our experience in working with these students is they would prefer to not make the bathroom issue a big deal. We work with the students to find a solution that will make them and other students & staff comfortable.”