A transgender student who used the girls’ bathroom has caused her fellow schoolmates to start a protest.
Lila Perry, a student at Hillsboro, Missouri asked permission to use the girls’ school bathrooms and locker rooms, and her school administrators agreed, following guidelines that specify students can use facilities based on the gender they identify with.
However, this has led to a demonstration by the school’s students, who wanted to oppose this decision. Some of the protesters are actually somewhat in favor of Lila, but they believe she should have continued to use a unisex bathroom, instead of opting for the ladies’ category. In total, about 150 high school kids took part in the protest, which lasted for 2 hours on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, as the demonstration unfolded, the 17-year old teen was experiencing fears for her safety, hiding away inside her counselor’s office, with the doors carefully locked.
“I feel like there’s a push to just lump all of us transgender people together and force us out. We’re not boys or girls, we’re just a different group of people. And I don’t like that”, insisted Lila Perry.
According to her, she is not fighting just her own battle against segregation, but she is also making an effort for the transgender community, because she believes many other people like her will have to face the same type of prejudice.
The issue has divided not just students, but also the rest of the community, which comprises of 3,000 people. Last week, a school board meeting discussing Perry had to be moved to another location because there were too many participants.
Even the high school kids’ protest was actually joined by adults, who expressed their disapproval with the transgender student’s decision to bring her personal life out into the open. They argued that until she had her gender reassignment surgery, she was still considered a boy and couldn’t be allowed to share a bathroom with the girls.
For now, Lila Perry has stopped attending her gym class, to avoid having to enter the locker room and causing a greater uproar. On the other hand, the Missouri Gay-Straight Alliance Network will hold its own rally in support of the student this Friday.
There have been other incidents of this kind across the nation, one of the most publicized taking place in Utah, where the first gender-neutral bathroom was recently set up.
Recently, the transgender cause has been receiving greater media coverage and wider acceptance among the public, after Caitlyn Jenner announced in April that she too had been transitioning. Her picture, which soon turned viral, appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, and she was also awarded the ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award in June.
However, incidents displaying people’s reluctance to welcome such people in their own communities prove that transgender people have a long way to go before they fully receive the acceptance they seek.
Image Source: AOL