Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wisconsin Lawmakers Jesse Kremer and Steve Nass: Ignorant and Transphobic

Jesse Kremer and Steve Nass, a pair of Ignorant Republican Congressmen in Wisconsin, have introduced a bill seeking to ban transgender students from using school bathrooms or locker rooms assigned to the gender with which they identify.

In fact, they hope to require Wisconsin school boards to designate all bathrooms and locker rooms as being for one gender exclusively, and to require the state Department of Justice to defend school districts in lawsuits alleging the policy is discriminatory.
“This bill reinforces the societal norm in our schools that students born biologically male must not be allowed to enter facilities designated for biological females and vice versa.” —Jesse Kremer
Kremer [top] and Nass’ [bottom] bill defines gender as “the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by an individual’s chromosomes and identified at birth by that individual’s anatomy.” In other words, a penis means you’re a boy, and a vagina makes you female.

And naturally, because Ignorance is fed by Fear, Kremer says his bill is designed solely to provide “safety” and “privacy” to students using these rooms; well, not for the trans students, I’m guessing. Kremer plays that card about a real girl entering the girl’s restroom and being followed by a :::gasp::: transgender student, a male student in Kremer’s narrow mind, or someone who is “up to no good.”

Under the bill, a student who identifies as a gender that is not their biological gender may request special … different … accommodations; in addition, parents of so-called normal students may file a written complaint if they feel their child’s privacy is being violated because of transgender students’ use of a school’s bathroom or locker room.

And then, if the complaining parents aren’t satisfied with the school district’s resolution, they can sue the district for monetary damages and, as Kremer seems to suggest, also ask that the transgender student be expelled from school.

Luckily though, it appears that this transphobic bill would put Wisconsin in conflict with Title IX, a federal policy regarding student discrimination. That policy came about as a result of a case where the U.S. Department of Justice sided with a transgender student from Virginia who said his school’s policy of requiring him to use alternative facilities instead of communal bathrooms violated his rights, and that he should be allowed to use the bathroom assigned to the gender he identified with as a matter of mental health.

Let me make this queer: it’s a bathroom, with locking doors and private stalls, and for anyone, and of course, it’s most likely a Republican, to say that a student would use being transgender, or fake being transgender, to get inside a different gender’s bathroom for the purposes of ogling or being “up to no good” is just plain stupid.

Sheri Swokowski, a transwoman and board member of Fair Wisconsin, an LGBT advocacy group, understands the anxiety and apprehension some feel about transgender students using communal spaces with others:
“And that’s really due to a lack of education and awareness of what transgender means. When you have a transgender female going into and using female restrooms and locker rooms — there may be male anatomy, but frankly they are female.”
Plain and simple, gender isn’t what’s between your legs, it’s what’s between your ears, what’s in your core. Educate yourselves.

And, again luckily for trans students, in recent years many school districts in Wisconsin have adopted policies addressing transgender students’ use of bathrooms or locker rooms. Last year, the Janesville School District adopted a policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room assigned to the gender with which they identify if parents and principals agree.

Even better than that, in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District, each school has at least one “gender-neutral” restroom, or the ability to convert a restroom into one. And in the Madison School District, transgender students have access to all restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, if they choose, and any student or staff member who objects, the district will make other accommodations for the person who complained.

Yes, the person who has the issue with a transgender student using the bathroom will be the one who makes the change.

Again, for Congressmen Kremer and Nass, gender is not defined by your anatomy, it’s a far more complex issue than that and for two politicians to use their own ignorance and transphobia to spread fear and to try and legislate against being transgender is disgusting.

Educate yourselves; when you know better, you do better.

7 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

hope they work it out.

Will J said...

They seem a bit preoccupied with genitals, and not the person.

Michael Dodd said...

The Republican state administration is an ongoing embarrassment -- not to say painful humiliation -- to the people of Wisconsin. A recent study unfortunately points out that Wisconsin is the most gerrymandered state in the union, meaning that although Democrats get far more total votes in state elections, the district lines are now such that Republicans will (for the foreseeable future) control the legislature, even should we manage to elect a Democrat or other progressive governor. Expect things like this and the effort to forbid on-campus gun bans to continue.

anne marie in philly said...

"Again, for Congressmen Kremer and Nass, gender is not defined by your anatomy"

these two sound like jackasses to me!

Helen Lashbrook said...

Are politicians more braindead than the rest of the population, or is it just Republicans ?

Bob Slatten said...

@Helen
Looks to me like you answered your own question. =/

MadTown Hoops said...

It's not just republicans. When I moved out to Madison, an imaginary weight felt lifted, but little did I know it would never be banished. I came out as trans to a select group of friends, and while the tenor of our conversations changed and my friend group narrowed, I still thought I was accepted. I was hanging out with punks, rebels, lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals, paleos, dudes who ate exclusively bananas, surely they would understand the lot of the outcast. It was liberating but only in my own mind, for the first time in my life I felt like I could be truly honest and 100% me.

Then I came out to a coworker.

Maybe you've heard of Willy St Coop. Pretty place that says all the right things and rarely means it. I was naive in thinking I had an ally without doing my homework. I came out to a gay coworker who ran it up the chain to my boss, who ran it up the chain to her boss, then collectively they ran me out of town. From subtle digs to medical commandments, my life became a hell. I wore a subtle amount of eyeliner to work those days. Once a co-worker asked why. I told her that I was representing myself. She laughed in my face. She was neither the first nor the last to do so at this location.

Like most trans I've dealt with depression and suicidal ideation. The fine folks at Willy St insisted in a sit down meeting that I seek mental health counseling that I was not comfortable with, then when I tried to find my own path with support groups a series of anonymous complaints were lodged against me. The only confirmed complaint was that I worked too fast and I swear to god, tried too hard to engage customers in conversation. Being able to read the wind I sought out other positions outside of my department and eventually turned in a letter of resignation for my originating department.

This did not sit well with boss and boss boss. I've always believed in two weeks notice, and so I was happy to work out the rest of the scheduled days. On my last day at that position, two days before my one year anniversary of working there and three days after receiving a commendation from an assistant manager for excellent service, I was called into the office. There were boss and boss boss. Boss was looking smug, with a smirk peeled right off of Delores Umbrage. Boss boss was wearing the false face of the concerned PTA leader.

What do you know, another anonymous complaint (at this point I was up to 6 total over the course of nearly a year). Boss boss was stunned. He'd never heard of so many complaints against a single cashier. Pretty impressive, given that on slow nights a cashier clears 300 customers over an eight hour shift. I guess none of them had ever worked in the real world, where petty complaints are commonplace and the employer should have their employees back without tangible evidence of wrongdoing. But no, I was a monster and not a thing worth the benefit of the doubt. I was told my resignation, hours from actualization, was to go into effect for all departments, immediately.

I was escorted by boss boss to my locker, where as I cleared out my things I got one more nasty, hurtful surprise. I wasn't allowed to leave until the cops escorted me away. That's right. Boss boss viewed me as a threat to myself and others and relied on the police to finish his cowardly deed. No longer employed at Willy St, I had to talk down a police officer from taking me in before I was allowed off the premises. It would be another hour and a half before I could go home. Thank god I wasn't arrested, though considering no crime had been committed that would have been a travesty.