Sunday, 27 October 2013

US High School In "Teenage Girl Uses Gender-Appropriate Bathroom" Horror

Florence High School in Colorado has been at the centre of a smear campaign against a trans student led by the misnamed Pacific Justice Institute, who initially claimed that she had been harassing other girls in the school bathrooms. Along with Fox News, various fringe Christian media, and the Daily Mail (which later withdrew its article, but given that it tried to erase any evidence that it ever existed rather than apologising for it and editing the online edition to begin with high-profile clarification that the allegations are unfounded, it seems to me that it this action was motivated by wanting to save face rather than a crisis of conscience), this endeavour has been supported by Cathy Brennan, a lawyer and professional transphobe who describes herself as a "radical feminist" and "lesbian activist" and who is best known for stalking and outing trans* people; Brennan however went a step further, continuing her usual pattern by naming the kid, while users on sites such as Fox News make threats of horrific physical violence including lynching. Interestingly, Brennan's support for PJI has so far been entirely uncritical of their legal actions in defence of "ex-gay therapy" and the homophobic "Defence of Marriage Act" - so much for "lesbian activist".

Since the story first broke, the school superintendent dismissed the notion that any reports of such behaviour had been made, parents of other kids have testified that their daughters have assured them the girl (who for the sake of anonymity has been referred to as Jane Doe) has not caused any problems (one of whom suggested it might be the work of one particular mother with a conservative agenda), and her fellow students and other sections of the local community have rallied to her defence.

Not that we should be surprised, but it seems that when they can't find evidence - even in the form of anecdotes about isolated cases - to support their favourite narrative that trans people using gender-appropriate facilities endangers cis women (non-trans, to oversimplify it) in public toilets, changing rooms and so forth, whether because trans women ourselves are more likely to be predators or because cis men might pretend to be trans just to access women's spaces, transphobic bigots of all stripes are quite happy to fabricate them, even if they directly destroy the lives of innocent children in the process.  Of course, all the while PJI has been using this story in their "Privacy for All Students" campaign against a California law protecting trans* students' civil rights.

In the midst of all this, a young girl's life is being destroyed.  It has now emerged that Jane has been placed on suicide watch.  The Transadvocate's Cristan Williams has arranged for people to be able to donate to the family to help them deal with Jane's medical and travel expenses, which must be quite significant (see the lack of free healthcare in the US).  Please help support them if you can.

Now that the claims of actual harassment have been so thoroughly discredited, Brennan and the PJI have been left arguing that the presence of a trans girl (their phrase was "biological male") in a girls' restroom is "inherently intimidating and harassing" to the other girls using it.  They've not stopped their campaign in California of course, so presumably the argument at the core of that campaign is now something like "if the right of teenage girls who are transgender to use the teenage girls' bathroom is protected in law, then teenage girls who are transgender might use the the teenage girls' bathroom!!!!!!111". z0mg.

1 comment:

Allie Cat said...

I know I already linked this in the post itself, but it's important, both so that Jane Doe can access the treatment she needs/the family can retain some sort of financial stability and to reassure Jane that she has plenty of support. If you can afford to do so, please donate to