Chicago school district allows transgender students unrestricted locker-room access: 'It's a great first step'
A Chicago school district's board members voted last week to grant transgender students unrestricted access to locker rooms. The board of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 voted 5-2 to end the requirement that transgender students use privacy stalls.
Some of the board members said that their votes were based on their own individual experience. "I myself have been the subject of discrimination all my life," board member Ed Yung said. "I know what these people are fighting for," Daily Herald reported.
Although all locker rooms in the district's five high schools have privacy stalls for students, only transgender students are required to use them. However, when the second-semester classes begin after the holidays, no such rule will be in effect.
Board member Kim Cavil, during the Thursday meeting, referred to the requirement of privacy stalls for transgender students as discrimination. "Discrimination is never an acceptable compromise," he said.
A transgender 2018 graduate of Palatine High School student, Nova Maday, said that she hoped the district's decision would influence other districts, however, she lamented that the ruling does not accomplish every improvement she sought for transgender students in the district. Reports state that Maday, who was born male, has a discrimination lawsuit pending against the district. One of Maday's requirements includes easing the process of getting one's name changed on a student ID.
"It's a great first step," she told the outlet. "It's huge, and school districts all across the state and nation are watching."
Although the district's decision has been welcomed by many, there are some who have voiced against it. Vicki Wilson, a fellow Palatine resident, called the new policy "a joke and a slap in the face. When you turn all intimate spaces coed, that's egregious."
She added that the district is not addressing the problem that there are not enough privacy stalls for every student to use each class period, and the students who do attempt to use the ones already there are ridiculed by others.
"One of the biggest concerns we continue to hear is the idea that anyone can go in any locker room whenever they feel like it -- as if a different gender can be declared at will," Superintendent Dan Cates said. "That's not the way it works in District 211. Upon a request from the student's parent or guardian, a student's stated gender in the official school record establishes the student's gender for access to gender-specific facilities."