Texas High School Responds By Restricting Trans Student's Restroom Access
A classmate snapped a photo of a transgender high school student in Texas using the restroom on Wednesday, then used it to bully them on Twitter.
In response to the incident, the principal at Timber Creek High School in the Fort Worth suburb of Keller told the student they can no longer use the boys' bathroom.
Elliot Cope, 15, was born female but identifies as non-binary transgender and gender neutral, Fox Channel 4 reports. "I don't identify as male or female, I'm kind of both, but I'm just neither," Cope says.
Cope was using a sink in the boys' bathroom to wash clay off their hands on Wednesday, when an unidentified classmate snapped a photo of them, then posted it on Twitter under the caption "Walk in the boy [SIC] restroom and..."
Others subsequently retweeted the photo, writing things like "Ma'am are you lost?" and "omg let's make gender neutral bathrooms for the ten people that would use them so they can get they [SIC] attention they want." However, Elliot is also getting plenty of support on social media, with LGBT advocates tweeting about the incident under the hashtag #JusticeForElliot.
Following the incident, Cope was called to the principal's office and told they could no longer use the boys' restroom, Fox Channel 4 reports. But Cope said an agreement for them to use gender-neutral faculty restrooms hasn't been working out.
"Even though some of the administration did give me a pass that says I am allowed to use it, they still yell at me for it, and I get in trouble by janitors even," Cope said.
In a statement to Fox 4, the district said, "when students request special accommodations related to gender identity, campus administrators work with each individual to develop a plan that best suits the student's needs as well as those of the entire student body."
School board members in Keller recently rejected a proposal to add LGBT students to the district's anti-bullying and nondiscrimination policies. The proposal was introduced in response to an incident at Timber Creek High School last year, in which school administrators barred a lesbian student from making a "promposal" to a girl.
Last year, Texas lawmakers introduced a proposal that would have placed a $2,000 bounty on the head of trans students who use restrooms according to their gender identity, but it died in committee. Texas' University Interscholastic League also recently approved a policy that bars trans youth from playing sports according to the gender identity unless have have corrected their birth certificates, an expensive and difficult process.
And Wednesday's incident in Texas took place on the same day that North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which among other things requires public schools to bar trans students form using bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity, unless they have corrected birth certificates.
Watch Fox 4's report, above.
Some responses via Twitter:
we should be encouraging the comfort of trans youth, not punishing it #justiceforelliotâ€” liam; 85 (@technicolordad) March 24, 2016
School should allow kids to be themselves and feel safe. #justiceforelliotâ€” Liaâœ¨ (@Bluefairylights) March 24, 2016
I am outraged that student cannot simply live their lives in comfort, without someone taking and spreading pictures #justiceforelliotâ€” Brooke Stephens (@obeyxxbrooke) March 25, 2016
I am disgusted by the lack of compassion for people who just want to lead normal lives #JusticeForElliotâ€” âœ±â€¢Ì©Ì©Í™ï½¡ï¾Ÿjay ï½¡ï¾Ÿâ€¢Ì©Ì©Í™ï½¡âœ± (@jaylajpg) March 25, 2016
Image: Screenshot via Fox Channel 4
See a mistake? Email corrections to: [email protected]