On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and our client and her family, I want to express our deep appreciation for all the people who came out and demonstrated support for Student A at the District 211 Board meeting this week. We are so grateful for the overwhelming support, and the many, eloquent voices who spoke up for her, stating clearly that this teenage girl should not be denied access to the locker room simply because she in transgender.
We owe a special note of thanks to the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, who organized, motivated, and delivered an extraordinarily diverse and determined group of supporters for the meeting. We thank the Alliance and its extraordinary staff for this effort, along with ACLU members, friends at Parents of Trans Individuals, PFLAG, Youth Outlook, TSER, Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and Chicago House who turned out or wrote letters of support or both. Likewise, we are grateful for the tight-knit circle of friends around our client’s family who have been champions in speaking up and speaking out on behalf of the family. And, finally, we were so inspired by the students from District 211 who confronted the fear and anger of some adults to express their support for respecting every student in their high school.
We are moved by all of these voices and others who made themselves heard regarding fair and equal treatment for transgender youth.
The ACLU is pleased that the agreement with the Department of Education and District 211 remains in place, even if we are troubled by some of the language that the District is using to describe both the agreement and our client. That said, we will work tirelessly to assure that the agreement is implemented in a fashion that respects and affirms our client.
The meeting on Monday and the events of the past few weeks demonstrate two fundamental things for me. First, people of good will who are committed to progress always can overcome the irrational rantings of the angry mob. This should make us optimistic. Perhaps the more important lesson is that we must continue to work to educate the public more broadly on what is means to be transgender and about the discrimination transgender persons face in order to overcome the stigma and fear too often aimed at the transgender community. This is not easy. But no good victory has ever been easy. Let’s keep working together to make the world a better place for everyone by overcoming the bias directed at this especially vulnerable group.
Thank you again for your help this week. Thank you for standing up for a teen girl who simply wants to be treated like every other girl in her school. You should be proud of your efforts.