Transgender Rights In the Renton School District
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My name is Adam Benoit and I am making this petition for my rights and others as well. As a Transgender male in the Renton School District, I have been out for 2 years now in the district, and have been faced with discrimination. I went to Nelsen Middle School, and am on my way to Lindbergh Highschool.
The Federal Law states "You have the right to be called by the name and pronouns that match your gender identity. Sometimes people make an honest mistake, but teachers and staff aren't allowed to call you by the wrong name or pronouns on purpose even after you tell them how you want to be called.
You have the right not to be bullied or harassed because you are transgender or gendernon-conforming. If the school administrators know you're being bullied or harassed, they have to take action to end it."
Did you notice the word gender? By definiton gender means, "
noun: gender; plural noun: genders
the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).
"traditional concepts of gender"'
And gendernon-conforming bydefiniton means, "
adjective: gender-nonconforming; adjective: gender non-conforming
denoting or relating to a person whose behavior or appearance does not conform to prevailing cultural and social expectations about what is appropriate to their gender"
So why does the online system state "GENDER : FEMALE" when I do not identify as female? Sex is my biological horomones, not my gender identity. I have gone to the school about this and they completely ignored it as if it isn't important. This is discrimination. It may not be for them because they are not transgender, but who are they to determine what is discrimation and what isn't if they have not lived a day in my shoes? Should'nt people like me be the ones that decide on that?
I have requested for a gender neutral bathroom multiple times and have been pushed to the backburner. My mother has faught for it as well and the only "solution" I was given was to use the nurses restroom, the nurses restroom is for sick people. I am not sick. I am a kid like any other that wants to feel safe in the bathrooms. I have gone to the boys bathrooms a couple of times and was made fun of and harassed. In the females bathroom I feel very upset and out of place, if the federal laws say they have to take an action to end it then what they are telling me is not okay. Do you have any idea how simple it would be to put a gender neutral sign on a bathroom?
I spend about 7 and a half hours at school every day not going to the bathroom because I dont feel safe and this is not a problem that can be fixed by telling the kids not to bully, bullying is not something that can be taken away by a few words but bullying can be prevented by making a gender neutral bathroom for me and all of the transgender males, females, and non-binary kids like me. By putting only female and male restrooms in schools they are instilling that those are the only genders valid, that people on a different part of the gender spectrum do not deserve to pee in peace but to use the nurses restroom as if they are sick. Not going to the bathroom for dramatically long periods of time can cause bladder infection, am I the only one thats spoken up about this?
Think of all the kids like me that are too afraid to speak up, I'll admit ive been afraid too but it is time for serious change. I will no longer cower in fear of rejection.
In the Kent School District at Meeker Middle School one of my friends that is also transgender has had his name completely changed on Skyward and the rosters (the online grading system/student information system) to what he goes by not by his legal name. The only people that know his legal name are the administration and nurses for medical purposes and on state tests his legal name is on it too. You see, there are some things I know that must have my legal name on them like state tests and medical information. But my student email? All of the certificates I've recieved for honor role? All of them have said my legal name with my prefered name in parenthesis next to is as if it is nothing but a "nickname". My honor role certificates are supposed to make me happy and feel proud but all they make me feel is distress and anger. When I look back at my awards I want to smile not be angry that the school was too lazy to correct it, I've crossed it out everytime with permanent marker but I will always know what it says beneath and how it makes me feel each time.
On my presidential award it said the right name, so why does the school not take the time to do the same? The rewards are important and memories that I'd love to have and keep but if they don't have my name, a big part of my identity, I dont want it.
What I want is to feel welcomed, to feel safe, and to be respected. This can be done with a gender neutral bathroom, this can be done by changing my name completely not putting it in parenthesis, this can be changed by making sure information online says sex and not gender as they are two completely different things.
The rate of suicide attempts in LGBT youth is 4 times greater than those who arent LGBT and 2 times greater for the questioning youth. Changing this will lift a weight off of my chest and others now and of the future. Changing this will make me feel safe and welcomed and important. Changing this will give kids like me a voice. Changing this will help step those kids away from suicide, away from feeling like they have nowhere to go.
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