The national debate on transgender issues always seems to die down until the next inevitable inflammation, or otherwise, controversial comment or policy is proposed. But that doesn’t mean that the issue hasn’t made great strides locally in the past few months. Specifically, the FCPS School Board passed measures that would include gender identity in their discrimination language.
Recently, measures to accommodate those of non-binary and not in accordance with sex were implemented in Fairfax County. Today, though, the anti-discrimination rules are extended further into the classroom. Under the new rules, teachers and students must go to greater extents to be in accordance with harassment rules.
Teachers and students are expected to, among other things, call transgender students by their chosen names, rather than birth names, and also show respect for the gender identity of any given student. Little is known at this time how enforcement of these rules would occur, but they seem largely up to the school administration. One thing is for sure, transgender students will be able to roam the halls and other school facilities as freely as their gender may flow on their so-called “spectrum.”
The issue of facility usage is also extremely unclear. The rules dictate that students may use facilities consistent with their gender. This may seem like a normal step to take after the Obama administration’s assertion to withhold federal Department of Education funding under existing anti-discrimination laws, but even the term “consistent” is disputable. Many students claim to be “genderfluid,” meaning their gender could be anywhere on the “spectrum” or perhaps not even on the “spectrum.”
The liberties these new rules afford students with inconsistent gender identities are indisputable. This has raised concern among parent advocacy groups who dispute the new changes made by the majority Democrat School Board. The issue also brings to mind another similar case in which the FCPS School Board voted to add transgender education in FLE/sexual education curriculums to students as young as in the third grade. Concerned parents threw a fit, and eventually nothing significant came of the hoopla. An online petition has accrued over 800 signatures in opposition to the new non-discrimination policies. The same will likely occur this time around.