Laura Jane Klug, a fifth grade substitute teacher for Lumberton Independent School District in Texas who also happens to be transgender, was suspended on Tuesday after parents complained to the school.
According to one Lumberton father:
“If it does affect my child and his ability to learn or if it causes questions that I don’t feel are appropriate then undoubtedly there’s an issue with having somebody transgender, transsexual or transvestite, to be teaching that age group.”
The scariest part? Discriminating against teachers based on gender identity is entirely legal in the state of Texas. Keep reading »
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that some people who run “Christian” schools are actually enormous dicks.
Eight-year-old Sunnie Kahle is no longer a student at Timberlake Christian School in Lynchburg, Virginia, after administrators sent a letter home to her guardians complaining she doesn’t dress or behave “feminine” enough, like wearing pants with her school uniform. Her grandparents, who are her guardians, pulled Sunnie out of Timberlake and enrolled her in public school instead of forcing her to be someone she is not.
Sunnie is a tomboy with a big, infectious smile who wears short hair (she donated her longer hair to kids with cancer!) and comfy clothes like jeans and T-shirts to run around outside. But elementary principal Becky Bowman from Timberlake Christian School wrote in a letter to Sunnie’s grandparents that perhaps it’s “not the best place for her future education” if Sunnie can’t conform to the Biblically-based gender identity they dictate:
“You’re probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment … We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education.” Keep reading »
Earlier this month, trans activist and author Janet Mock appeared on “Piers Morgan Live” to discuss her new book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. That didn’t go so well, thanks to Morgan’s repeated misgendering of Mock and his focus on the physical aspects of her transition. Many of Mock’s supporters — and Mock herself — were rightly perturbed and expressed as much on Twitter, which Morgan mischaracterized as “attacks.” He had Mock back on his show the following night, and this followup went even worse — for Morgan, I mean, who came off even more shrill and entitled and clueless. The real bummer was that Mock was not given the time or freedom to actually talk about the issues discussed in her book, though it must be said that when Morgan did let her get a word in edgewise, she was brilliant. So it’s kind of amazing that the news show that actually gave Mock the opportunity to address the issues of real importance to the trans community, particularly trans women, was the satirical “Colbert Report,” on which Mock appeared last night. Keep reading »
There are a lot of worries parents might have as their child heads off to school: academic struggles, not getting along with teachers or classmates, bad behavior. The potential consequences for these concerns are worrisome as well. As a mother (and one who used to teach high school social studies), I don’t think it’s all that unusual to fret over things like these.
But one thing I didn’t think I’d have to be worried about is the possibility of my son being suspended for his sense of style. A 13-year-old 8th grader from Kansas was recently suspended for wearing a Vera Bradley handbag while attending school.
Suspended. For having a quilted bag. Seriously. Keep reading »
Now that Chelsea Manning has expressed a desire to medically transition through hormone replacement therapy, there are a lot of questions circling about what Leavenworth looks like for a trans woman, and how exactly someone might transition from male to female in prison. While Manning’s case itself is complicated, the question of what kind of healthcare someone deserves in prison is fairly simple. There are clear legal and moral arguments for Manning receiving hormones once they are prescribed by a doctor. This isn’t about what she did or did not do; it’s about the basic commitment we make as a society when we lock someone up.
When someone commits a crime, no matter how heinous, we still have an obligation as a society to provide their basic needs while they serve their time. As Lesley Kinzel argued when writing about the Michelle Kosilek case last year, “What makes us better than murderers is that we value human life, even the lives of those who don’t value life themselves, their own included.” Whether or not you agree with Manning’s release of classified information, we consider a decent life a collective value, enshrined in the basic rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution. Courts have already held that the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment confers a right to adequate medical care in prison, and medical experts and courts have consistently found that hormone therapy is a medically necessary treatment for transgender people for whom it’s prescribed. Keep reading »
“So? What are you having?”
Throughout my pregnancy, that was the number one question I received, tied only with: “How are you feeling?” At first I was polite about it, telling folks that it was too early to tell, but that we weren’t finding out anyway until the birth. After I passed 20 weeks, I attempted to answer all the Nosy Nellies as diplomatically as I could. I said that we would be happy with either a boy or girl, as long as the baby was healthy. Yet as my belly expanded, my patience shrank and I found myself coming up with more creative ways to answer the increasingly frequent queries over “what” we were having. “Fingers crossed it’s not a kitten!” was one of my favorite go-to replies.
And, for those keeping track – no, we did not have a kitten, but rather a beautiful baby boy. Still, the questions kept coming. Since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl (and because, you know, colors are for everyone), my son wore a rainbow of onesies, which only seemed to confuse folks. Multiple times a day I would have people question why my son was wearing purple. Or pink. Or even yellow. I did not get the same stares or questions when he donned his blue, green or brown onesies. Our society, one that is heavily entrenched in traditional, stereotypical gender roles, seems to want to plug children into these boxes as quickly as possible — even before they’re born — and that can be both frustrating and confusing. Keep reading »