I am surprised and gratified that our school system took a progressive step forward — they approved a set of guidelines for dealing with gender issues in schools, and it’s not outrageous bathroom bill nonsense.
A Minnesota Department of Education advisory council voted to approve a new toolkit for “Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” in front of a room of more than 200 opponents and advocates of LGBTQ issues Wednesday.
The motion was met with cheers from advocates for transgender students, led by OutFront Minnesota and its allies, who wore purple at the gathering at the department’s offices in Roseville.
Opponents of the toolkit, led by the Minnesota Family Council, a conservative Christian coalition, wore red.
The toolkit, approved by the School Safety Technical Assistance Council, is a nonbinding guide with information about providing welcoming environments for all students and guidelines for school officials to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
The toolkit stems from a desire to combat bullying in schools, said state Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey.
Impressive. The usual approach to combating bullying has been to enable the bullies. This is like, sensible and tolerant. Which means, of course that some people don’t like it at all.
Sadly, this toolkit undermines my authority as a parent,said Joy Orbis, who wore red and brought her four children from the Anoka-Hennepin School District to the packed meeting. Before the meeting, Orbis and her children drew signs that included the hashtag #Stopthetoolkit.
No, it doesn’t. If your little boy wants to be addressed as “he”, or your little girl wants to be called “she”, they still can, and you can complain if they’re misgendered.
The toolkit encourages teachers to teach false conceptions of gender,said Barb Anderson, a longtime opponent of changes to LGBTQ policies in the Anoka-Hennepin district. Her comments on Wednesday were met with yells of “disrespect” by others in the meeting room.
No, it doesn’t. It expects that teachers will respect the reasonable requests of their students. It contains clear, simple guidelines that mean less time spent squabbling over supporting bigotry.
You can read a draft of A Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students here. I hope more states follow Minnesota’s lead.