Talking to San Diego County School Boards about trans studentsBottom Highlights, Trans Progressive Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Commentary: Trans Progressive
“There is a Trans Action Committee that’s part of Canvass For A Cause,” stated Canvass For A Cause’s Holly Hellerstreet in an interview with LGBT Weekly. “And we have been working to support transgender people in San Diego. We’re really excited here in California that we have the School Success and Opportunity Act which is creating safer schools for all of our transgender students in K through 12 schools.”
Many of us know, from LGBT Weekly attending a meeting at a Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar where Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) director Karen England recently spoke, that there is a current three- prong approach in place for the Privacy For All Coalition (PFAS) to roll back the protections of AB1266 (the School Success and Opportunity Act). The PFAS coalition, of which CRI is a founding member, had initiated a failed petition drive to repeal AB1266.The California secretary of state’s count of the signatures indicated PFAS was about 17,000 signatures short of qualifying the referendum for the November 2014 ballot.
The first prong of the PFAS action plan involves checking the petition signatures, county by county, in an attempt to claw back enough signatures to qualify the referendum for that ballot. The second prong is to have the PFAS’s Pacific Justice Institute sue schools across the state by identifying cisgender conservative Christian students who will testify that trans students have violated their privacy. The third prong of their plan will be organizing conservative Christian parents to attend school board meetings across the state and work to have AB1266 not fully implemented in multiple school districts, or should the referendum end up qualifying for the ballot and be repealed, demand that antidiscrimination protections for trans students be rolled back.
Toward addressing that third prong, Canvass For A Cause is implementing an action plan.
“One of the big things that we want to do is ensure that bill is not only going into effect, but is being as effective as possible, and showing that this is a law that parents, teachers and students care about,” Hellerstreet continued. “We’re going to be mobilizing to different school board meetings across San Diego County. Basically, we want to show up and not only support this bill, but we want to make sure this [bill] is implemented.”
The first school board meeting that Canvass For A Cause is mobilizing to attend and speak at is the April 29 San Diego Unified School District’s next board meeting. The second school district meeting in the county will be Grossmont Union High School District’s school board meeting May 8.
“I went to Grossmont High School,” said Daniella McDonald, also with Canvass For A Cause. “And being in that system – this is back in 2006 – I didn’t know what to call what I was because I didn’t know the terminology, but I was so scared to be myself. I was so closeted.”
“It really was restrooms,” McDonald continued. “I didn’t use the restrooms at my school. I held it in. I remember 6th, 7th period shaking my leg: ‘I have to use the restroom; I have to use the restroom.’ When I walked home, I either ran home because I had to go so bad, or I found a bush. I was so effeminate back then I didn’t feel comfortable in the men’s restroom, and I didn’t feel comfortable in the women’s restroom because I knew it wasn’t allowed. So what could I do? I didn’t feel safe.
“When I heard about AB1266, I said ‘Wow. This is important. This makes so much sense. Simple, but so essential.’ I just want to get across to the [Grossmont Union School Board] that trans students exist, and I was one of them. I don’t want these students to go through what I went through.
“Some people don’t take this seriously enough because they don’t understand what these students go through.”
If you’re a member or an ally of the trans community, Canvass For A Cause would like to have you attend either or both of these school board meetings. It’s an attempted inoculation of school boards across San Diego County against the planned actions of the PFAS coalition.
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