Did you hear the one about the transgender high school boy who was told to wear a green wristband at school so everyone knows he’s trans?
Sadly, it’s not a joke.
16-year-old Ash Whitaker is suing the Kenosha Unified School District for planning to make him and other trans students wear a bright green bracelet, identifying them as transgender students.
The Wisconsin school district had proposed this was a way to alert teachers to stop Ash from entering the boys bathroom, since he was born female. Hello? Did we learn nothing from North Carolina? Or Virginia?
In my time learning about the trans community, one thing has been made pretty clear: trans people don’t want to stand out… they want to blend in! They don’t want the spotlight. They’re not in your face about their identity. They simply want to be who they feel they were born to be, usually as quietly as possible.
Forcing them to wear a green wristband is about as subtle as a Scarlet A.
In Ash’s case, fellow students know he is trans. In fact, he was nominated for prom king – a nomination that school officials blocked until protests forced them to change their mind. Officials still refer to him with female pronouns and use his female name, despite his requests that they do otherwise.
Other trans students may not be as open, and these green wristbands “out” them.
The lawsuit Ash filed states that school officials must treat him, and all trans students, as their preferred identities and stop any discrimination against transgender students.
I have middle-school aged kids and for years have watched their schools make huge proclamations about bullying: how it won’t be tolerated, how everyone should be treated equally and with respect.
How is forcing these students to wear wristbands not a form of bullying? You’re not treating them equally. You’re not respecting them. You’re singling them out, and making them bigger targets for those who are just looking for someone to pick on.
Shame on you, Kenosha Unified School District. I hope Ash wins his lawsuit. And I hope someday, you’ll get a good, old-fashioned lesson in acceptance. You sure need one.