April 4, 2017
Filed under Opinion
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Within the past few decades, transgender people have been more and more accepted in their communities. Even after all the progress that’s been made, there is still a lot of prejudice surrounding them, even after all of the progress that has been made.
People have faced harassment based on their sexual identity and orientation on a daily basis. And, in some countries, you’d be executed. Luckily, in America, there are laws that help to prevent this from happening. Jefferson County has even taken steps to protect transgender students. According to the Jeffco Code of Conduct, a student’s role is, “To refrain from any conduct, which discriminates against other students on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability. Sexual orientation is a person’s orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status or perception of the individual’s sexual orientation,” Meaning, any harassment towards someone based on their transgender status will not be tolerated. Jeffco has also confirmed that they are willing to accommodate students who want to use the bathroom according to the gender they identify as.
I sat down with Larry Shavers, sponsor of the Gay Straight Alliance here at Green Mountain High School. “It’s the same fight that gay people have had, it’s the same fight that black people have had, it’s the same fight that Hispanics have right now. It’s the constant feeling that anything outside of the norm, the white cisgendered straight male norm is scary, and it’s fearful to some of those that are white cisgendered straight males. Even women have their own struggles, still, to this day. I hate the fact that it’s just constantly,’if you aren’t in this mold, then you’re gonna have some sort of issue.’ And it’s so sad.” A cisgendered person is someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were born as.
James Buck, a transgender student commented, “It’s kind of like, can I go pee? Because sometimes I look like a man, so I’m like, in the women’s bathroom, and everyone’s like, ‘ew’, why are you in here?’ And you go to the men’s bathroom, and you’re just like, ‘Oh my God, am I gonna get beat up? What’s gonna happen? Am I gonna get fined?’”
When asked about how the community is, Buck said, “I think all of my teachers are pretty accepting, especially the counselors.” And while James is absolutely correct, and things are great in our little community, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs claims “transgender people were 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence compared to cisgender survivors and victims.” This statistic proves that the fight isn’t over yet.
“I’m constantly worried for my students who are more out about being transgender, that they will be constantly bullied or harassed about it,” explained Shavers. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there. And that’s what creates a stigma…I think it’s a fear of the unknown, a fear of their ignorance.”