Readin’, Writin’ and Transgenderin’

On Friday, US public schools got schooled. They received a letter from the US Department of Justice and the Education Department regarding transgender students.

The letter says public schools must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with the gender they identify with. (Yes, I know it’s “with which they identify” but that sounds so awfully formal in my blog so I wrote it incorrectly. On purpose. Dangling participles be damned.)

In short, the letter spells out what’s expected of public schools in exchange for the federal funding they receive. Loretta Lynch is the Attorney General who sent out a statement along with the directive, which included the following statement:

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination of any transgender students on the basis of their sex.”

And schools are responding. Iowa cried foul. Texas called it blackmail, with the state’s Lt. Governor saying Texas will forfeit federal education money rather than follow the guidelines as they were laid out. Iowa, North Carolina

What’s interesting to me is this: I have two kids, both in middle school. They’re old enough to understand the situation and they’re perfectly fine with the idea of transgender students using whatever restroom they choose. Their friends seem to be, as well. Perhaps I live in a tiny little bubble of acceptance land, where we don’t discriminate and we don’t judge. But I have to believe that kids elsewhere might feel the same way.

I wrote in a previous blog about a Virginia students’ fight to use the boys’ restroom. The kids didn’t have a problem with it. The school board had an issue, and they’re the ones who raised it up to the court level, fighting to make this student use the girl’s room even though he identifies as male. If the kids don’t care, why are we adults making it a huge deal?

Maybe, just maybe, our children are more open and accepting than we are. As we strive to teach them lessons — in the classroom, in the home, and in their lives — they’re learning. Let them learn well the lesson of acceptance. And please let us be the ones to teach it. Because right now, it seems that we’re the ones that could use some schoolin’.

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