The debate over which restroom a transgender student should use has been rekindled in Stafford County, with at least 20 speakers—including a transgender Stafford graduate—speaking out at the School Board’s meeting this week.
The issue surfaced after a Hartwood Elementary School student who was born a boy but identifies as a girl was allowed to use the girls restroom at the school. Following a wave of opposition at a March board meeting, the board reversed the staff’s decision, requiring the student to use a single-stall restroom, staff restroom or the boys restroom.
At least 15 speakers at the board meeting Tuesday urged the board to change its recent decision.
Brian, a transgender student who was born female but now lives as a man, said that there were no problems with North Stafford High School peers, even after using the men’s bathroom.
“I have never sexualized a bathroom before in my life,” Brian said.
Brian wished to only be identified by his first name out of concern for his safety and knowing other transgender individuals who have received threats.
Brian’s mother, Reina Robinson, told the board that she didn’t think the board understood what they were asking for. A transgender person looks, acts and thinks like the gender that they identify with, she said, so other students would feel uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender student who is forced to use the bathroom of their biological gender.
Some invoked the nation’s under separate but equal education policies during segregation, while others said that the board’s lack of acceptance has exposed the child to bullying.
Others noted that the transgender population is at a higher risk of suicide.
Fewer than five speakers supported the board’s decision, with one parent saying that their Hartwood student felt awkward and confused.
No board members commented on the issue, and no action was taken.