My name is Ashley Windnagle and I am a Corunna Public School parent and I am in support of the current policy, which allows transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity.
I am here today to show support for transgender students in our school district. As a parent and community member I feel it is my job to protect and advocate for all students, especially students whose rights and dignity are being scrutinized and challenged by other students and adults. Trans youth report significantly increased rates of depression, suicide and victimization compared to their cisgendered peers. Love and acceptance are the answer to changing those facts; not control, discrimination, fear and exclusion. The root of this conversation is not political, nor is it religious, it is a civil rights issue.
I know that many people proclaim to be afraid for their child’s safety in bathrooms and locker rooms with this policy in place. What we must understand is that a transgender girl using a girls bathroom is not a boy using the girls bathroom and when a transgender boy uses the boys bathroom they are not a girl using the boys bathroom. This fundamental understanding is crucial. Maybe some people don’t know this, but transgender people have been using the bathroom that matches their gender identity for years. This has not led to a rise in assault. In fact, the opposite is true. According to the 2017 National School Climate Survey, 80 percent of transgender students say they avoided bathrooms because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. Transgender students are the ones reporting higher levels of bullying and assault in bathrooms: not the other way around. Furthermore, if someone is going to assault someone else, a bathroom policy is not going to make a bit of difference. This fear is not based on fact. It is rooted in discrimination and misinformation.
On the point of compromise, it would seem that allowing a transgender student use of a designated unisex bathroom might solve this whole problem, but that would only be a bandaid to a greater problem – and an embarrassing bandaid at that. With a desire to feel typical and accepted at the heart of the whole issue, a single stall, unisex bathroom, doesn’t exactly feel like either of those things. It feels like exclusion. It feels like “separate, but equal” and we know where that road leads.
When we have a choice in front of us, and we always have a choice in front of us, I hope that we will choose love. I, for one, will always choose love. And love looks like protection. It looks like listening. It looks like being the voice for the silent, it looks like doing everything you can to protect and preserve the dignity of all.
Ashley Windnagle, Corunna, Protect Trans* Youth organizer