Two Schools, Two Policies: Developments in The Transgender Student Bathroom Battles

protest against Lila’s use of the girls facilities, three school board members resigned, and in a recent school board meeting, an attendee, Patty Crabtree asserted, “I despise it. We’re Christians, we don’t believe in this all these different types of males and females, you know what we have now. We have slowly watched all of our rights, our Christian rights are being taken from us. We are tired of it.”

Despite the often vociferous protests of parents, students often are accepting of their transitioning peers. While adults, parents, judges and school officials quibble over sex organs, transition surgeries and privacy claims, many students in Missouri and Virginia generally have adopted a much more egalitarian and supportive stance.

Supporters of Lila Perry took to Instagram, Facebook, and twitter, using #LiftingUpLila to promote a support rally held earlier this month. One twitter supporter @osnapitzkevin put it quite simply, “#liftinguplila in support of lila because she deserves the RIGHT to use the female exclusive public places. she’s a GIRL!”

However, Lila has also received backlash from the student body in early September, when 100 of her peers staged a walk out of Hillsboro High School. Perry said, “It feels really awful that people are going to these extremes against me, not just in school but all over the Internet…[b]ut I’ve also received so much support. It feels really surreal to be in the middle of all of this.”

In the very same state that Lila Perry struggles, Landon Patterson, a transgender girl and high school student, was voted Homecoming Queen by her peers in September.

Second Nexus
via Flickr user Bryan Alexander

Trans rights are likely to be “the next” civil rights battle, and for now there is not a lot of common ground for the opposing sides. It remains to be seen if transgender rights will snowball rapidly with the recent press coverage of these individual cases, or if, as with gay and lesbian rights, it will take decades to reach a nationwide movement and public policy change. While Grimm’s and Perry’s cases center around the simple need to use a restroom in peace and safety, these questions barely scratch the surface of the significant challenges that transgender people will face in the coming years.


Featured image via Flickr user Samir Luther

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