T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 226
posted 12-15-2002 09:13 PM
In the U.S. city of St. Louis, some parents have been
upset recently by the father of a grade four student who chaperones his child's school field trips and so forth - dressed as a woman.
On a recent outing with the students, the man in question wore a sweater, jeans, makeup and 'woman's hairstyle'. Parents of the child's classmates say that they have a right to decide what their children are exposed to, and that they don't want them exposed to a cross-dresser.
One of the parents...
quote: Patti Hight, 44, whose daughter went on the field trip, said she didn't want the school district to teach her children about sex and gender without her permission. Who would answer questions from children who might ask why a man was dressed as a woman?
"That sexual education is mine and my husband's responsibility, not the school's," Hight said.
Now, I can understand parents being concerned with having to put their kids' education into the hands of others, but why is it always issues like this that raise their hackles? Why aren't parents getting upset when they find out that their kids are graduating without being able to find Israel on a map, and such?
An important point is made near the bottom of the article:
quote: Aiken said that while parents have the right to pull their children out of activities, a list of who would be chaperoning a trip might present legal problems if its purpose was discriminatory. The question leaves room for debate, she said.
A list made with the intention of letting parents know that an African-American would be a chaperone would be deemed intentional discrimination. But transgender people are not a protected class in the way that people of different races, sexes and creeds are.
shouldbe protected in the way that these other groups are. I live in the only Canadian province where there is no legal grounds to discriminate on the basis of political beliefs. This covers a lot of ground and could potentially cover transgendered people, as well. I'd like to see it in more places.
There are a lot of issues here. Dig in.
"Will you help him change the world? Can you dig it?" "Yes I can!" -Chicago, Saturday in the Park (Yeah, yeah. Shut up.)
Member # 5640
posted 12-15-2002 09:28 PM
This portion struck me:
quote: "That sexual education is mine and my husband's responsibility, not the school's," Hight said.
Especially considering that, according to study after study, parents
are not educating their children sexually, at least not to the fullest.
I'm in agreement that transgendered people -- GLBT people in general, for that matter -- should be protected under the law from discrimination, especially when you consider that, at least with my experience, this type of discrimination continues fairly unchecked.
What you ultimately have to examine, I think, is what motivates this type of outrage: fear and unfimiliarity, nothing more, and nothing less. Which, ultimately is caused by the fact that there still is a huge chunk of the population that isn't exposed, let alone educated, on transgenderism, homosexuality, bisexuality, and a treasure trove of other minor things that make people even slightly different from the so-called "norm." It's a vicious cycle, honestly, because it all stems back to a lack of eduaction and exposure.
The "who would answer questions from children who might ask why a man was dressed as a woman?" really bugs me. Why do these parents feel that they can trust a thrid party to inform their children about the history, language, and math, yet information about sexuality and the differences between people that these children are going to encounter in the real world is something that only they can teach?
[Edited for clarity]
------------------ Tim, Scarleteen Advocate
"Don't get strung out by the way I
look, don't judge a book by its cover..." -- Sweet Transvestite, Rocky Horror.
[This message has been edited by Dude_who_writes (edited 12-15-2002).]
Member # 4356
posted 12-15-2002 10:27 PM
I think this phrase should say it all:
""This individual made time to support our district and made the education of his and other children a top priority ahead of other personal activities," Hodits said. "This is more than I can say for some of the individuals that are now trying to persecute this individual." "
If I were a parent..... so long as this parent has no malicious intentions, ie: abuse, etc, and they're doing a good job, who cares?
Member # 94
posted 12-16-2002 05:02 AM
quote: Patti Hight, 44, whose daughter went on the field trip, said she didn't want the school district to teach her children about sex and gender without her permission. Who would answer questions from children who might ask why a man was dressed as a woman? "That sexual education is mine and my husband's responsibility, not the school's," Hight said.
What this parent doesn't understand is that society, the school and just about everyone her daughter meets is educating her about sex and gender- the message that girls wear skirts and boys don't is probably something her daughter encounters every day- and that's every bit as much a gender lesson as learning that boys can wear skirts if they want, and that not everyone with a penis identifies as male. I think that what this parent is actually saying is that she doesn't want people teaching her child about gender when it doesn't conform to the arbitrary norm.
Member # 10987
posted 12-16-2002 05:43 AM
quote: Originally posted by Beppie: I think that what this parent is actually saying is that she doesn't want people teaching her child about gender when it doesn't conform to the arbitrary norm.
Or, more likely, HER norm. Parents seem very edgy about people teaching their children anything they personally don't agree with, whether it be religion, sexuality, morality.
I find it interesting that in this case they state that it's the parents' job to educate their children about sexuality, but how many parents say absolutely nothing to their children about sex, and expect the school "sex ed" to fill them in? I know I was one of those students who sat there in grade 5 going "Oohhh, NOW it makes sense!"
[This message has been edited by LunarMagic (edited 12-16-2002).]
Member # 568
posted 12-16-2002 11:51 AM
i suppose the simple solution would be to simply ask the parents to agree abide by the same dress code to which the teachers are subject.
i don't find the cross-dressing itself objectionable, but the point should be that it's not the cross-dressing itself, but the disruption it caused the students during an otherwise educational experience. isn't disruption (and its prevention) the basis for many dress codes anyway? As for Ms. Hight, parents have the right to educate their children. it's called "home-schooling." I'm all in favor of home schools, alternative education and the like as long as it's done properly. but also consider what else can go wrong if parents object to material being taught in school... ------------------ Correlation does not equal causation.
[This message has been edited by Gumdrop Girl (edited 12-16-2002).]
Member # 802
posted 12-17-2002 07:52 PM
If you go to a public school, you have to expect that you'll be confronted with all kinds of people, of different races, social classes, ages, etc. And I think that's a good thing.
I wish parents would stop being so over-protective. I guess that's easy for me to say, because I'm not a parent, but I hope that when/if I am, I'll have faith in my child's own judgement.
Can't this woman just give her child one of those "love the sinner, hate the sin" speeches? [Not that I think being transgendered is a sin. But at least that would teach the kid that we need to get along with people we disagree with, sometimes.]
Member # 10181
posted 12-18-2002 12:15 PM
I really think that this is ridiculous. The parent should be allowed to wear what they like! After all, i'm sure that noone would object to a mother wearing dungarees and boots, and sporting a short hairstyle.
"Still, Aiken said, such a policy could offend the Constitution. And if the district developed a dress code that demanded that men and women wear gender-appropriate clothing, could women wear pants?"
I'm sure that women would be protesting in thier thousands if they had to wear skirts to school trips.
Shouldn't we be teaching our children the benifits of tolerance and living with others in harmony? Surely thats better than giving out a message of conformity and intolerance to young children. As far as i can tell, none of the children seemed to mind, only thier parents. Maybe they should take a leaf out of thier childrens books!
Member # 3
posted 12-18-2002 02:36 PM
Honestly, I think some of what you're seeing with this isn't oveprortectiveness, but instead, personal issues in the guise of overprotectiveness. A lot of the time, you can get away with an awful lot if you state it is about concern for your children. It's unfortunate so many people use that, especially when that may not be what's going on.
A lot of people -- maybe even most people -- are VERY tied up with gender identity, especially biological gender identity, because it's something they can cling to and claim to which no one can argue. So, when you have people standing in th face of typical gender identities, breaking what was, for a long time, the very firm border of biological gender, many people tend to get insanely insecure because it makes them feel as if a part of them which was a given (or they thought was) is far more tenuous.
I'd be willing to wager that's a lot of what we're seeing here.
Heather Corinna Editor and Founder, Scarleteen My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Member # 11154
posted 12-27-2002 02:15 AM
quote: Originally posted by Dude_who_writes: Hmmmm
What you ultimately have to examine, I think, is what motivates this type of outrage: fear and unfimiliarity, nothing more, and nothing less. Which, ultimately is caused by the fact that there still is a huge chunk of the population that isn't exposed, let alone educated, on transgenderism, homosexuality, bisexuality, and a treasure trove of other minor things that make people even slightly different from the so-called "norm."
[Edited for clarity]
The question is then, how do you get people to overcome their "fear" and better understand the GLBT population, when said population itself is afraid? A lot of people still believe that the "norm" is just and CAN apply to everyone. Nobody seems to really listen in gradeschool when they say that no two people are the same. People replace fear with hate...Why else would so many GLBT be hiding their true selves? To get rid of such outrage that comes with something as (in my opinion) normal as a crossdressing parent would mean reshaping the thinking of all of today's society. We're a very insecure people and the tiniest differences scare us. We've always been like this; way back with Anne Hutchison to treating African Americans equally to (now)sexual orientation. It will take decades before society truly respects the GLBT population and gives them the rights they are entitled to, and by then we'll have found someone new to fear. No matter what happens, this cycle of fearing, hating, and oppressing will continue in one way or another.It's wrong and unjust, but I guess that's just the way society is.
"...we're a country that adores 'Jerry Springer' and taking children to gun shows, but thinks that allowing gay people to build a life together is perverted. Go figure." -"Kiss My Tiara" by Susan Jane Gilman
[This message has been edited by ClumsyKiddo32 (edited 12-27-2002).]
Member # 961
posted 12-27-2002 03:24 AM
Things may never be utopian, but we've still come a long way. There will always be people who're afraid of other groups of people, that's a given, but really, it doesn't mean *that* much. So long as we as individuals do what we can to be good, kind people, and elect responsible governments, and speak out when we see problems, we're doing okay. I'd say my country's getting a lot closer to getting GLBT rights right; there're things ot be pleased about, and we'll just keep working on the rest, eh?
Milke, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP Where are my goddamned pants? BD,SA