Chicago School District Allows Transgender Students Unrestricted Locker Room Access

Deena Kennedy, left, holds a sticker for a new gender neutral bathroom as members of the cheer squad applaud behind during a ceremonial opening for the restroom at Nathan Hale high school Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle. President Obama's directive ordering schools to accommodate transgender students has been controversial …
AP/Elaine Thompson

Board members of Chicago’s Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 voted Thursday to grant transgender students unrestricted access to locker rooms.

The board voted, 5-2, to end the requirement that transgender students use privacy stalls, reported the Daily Herald.

Board member Kim Cavill referred to the requirement of privacy stalls for students claiming to be uncomfortable with their biological sex as “discrimination.”

“Discrimination is never an acceptable compromise,” Cavill said.

“I’m ecstatic,” said one biological male transgender graduate whose name was listed as Nova Maday.

Maday filed a discrimination lawsuit against the district in 2017.

According to CBS Chicago, “Maday’s attorneys said the fact she is anatomically male has nothing to do with her gender identity, and should have no relevance on whether she’s allowed access to the girls’ locker room.”

Maday told CBS, “I’m just like every other girl.”

He said while the board’s vote is “a great first step,” transgender activists want more.

“It’s a great policy,” Maday said. “Unfortunately, it’s not everything we want, such as changing the name on your student ID, which you’re required to wear at all times.”

Student Julia Burca, however, said she is “uncomfortable that my privacy is being invaded.”

“I am a swimmer,” Burca said. “I do change multiple times in front of the other students in the locker room. I understand that the board has an obligation to all students, but I was hoping they would go about this in a different way that would accommodate students such as myself.”

Similarly, Vicki Wilson, a co-founder of Students and Parents for Privacy, told the Herald the new policy is “a joke and a slap in the face.”

“When you turn all intimate spaces coed, that’s egregious,” she said, adding a primary problem is the lack of privacy stalls for every student during each class period.

The issue has been the focus of controversy for four years. In 2015, a biological male student claiming to be female and known as “Student A,” wanted to use the girls’ locker room, but was not granted unrestricted access.

Superintendent Dan Cates, a supporter of unrestricted access to locker rooms for transgender students, defended the new policy. He said one of the stated concerns has been that anyone can declare themselves a different gender and enter any locker room when they want.

“That’s not the way it works in District 211,” he said. “Upon a request from the student’s parent or guardian, a student’s stated gender in the official school record establishes the student’s gender for access to gender-specific facilities.”

According to the Herald, board members Mark Cramer and Pete Dombrowski voted against the proposal. Cramer had motioned for an advisory referendum on the issue in March.



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