Transgender kids in NJ bathrooms — 17 passionate arguments for, against
Transgender rights are back in the news.
Gov. Chris Christie on Friday signed legislation that requires the commissioner of education to provide districts with guidelines for how they treat transgender students. The law doesn't spell out specific rules, but is intended to better accomodate those students needs and respect their gender identities.
Among other things, the commissioner will provide guidance on referring to students by the pronounces of their choosing, and letting them use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.
Our own Judi Franco wonders if Christie just signed the law to kiss up to President Donald Trump, who's on record saying transgender people should use whatever bathrooms they want.
It's far from the first time the question of how to treat transgender students has become an issue in New Jersey news. Over the last few years, several school districts have set their own policies — some prompting statewide or even national controversy.
Last year, New Jersey 101.5 news director Eric Scott, in discussing school policies, told a caller to the station's morning show it was her "inherent bigotry" that was causing problems — not the demands transgender students were putting on their peers or districts. And in February, New Jersey 101.5 revisited that post after the Trump administration rescinded guidance telling schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
A discussion of that story brought 300 spirited comments to our Facebook page (many of which are quoted below) — it's clearly a topic that strikes a nerve.
We've seen the same when tackling the topic before, like when Jeff Deminski said while he understands parents who are anxious about letting their children change or use bathrooms alongside transgender students, such policies "will help them more than they'll hurt us." Or when Joe Votruba said this isn't just about bathrooms — it's about human rights.
But not everyone at New Jersey 101.5 argues that point. Bill Spadea, for instance, says opposition to transgender bathroom policies isn't bigotry — and that such policies can be misguided, even hurtful. He's opposed to any policy that takes parents out of the equation.
So what do you, the New Jersey 101.5 audience, have to say about transgender rights?
Andrew Turner: Sorry Eric, if your 6-year-old came to you claiming they were a puppy would you accept it and start taking them to the vet? Children are easily manipulated and it's sad that parents encourage this nonsense.
Randy Fulgham: The rights we have at Americans is the freedom to identify as what ever you want, but when the rubber hits the road, you are the gender you're born with.
Joseph Cristiano: The real question should be asked of the kids who would experience it. I asked my 13-year-old and 11-year-old. And they both said they would feel extremely uncomfortable with opposite sex in the bathroom with them. So how about their feelings?
Ria Jairam (In response to Joseph Cristiano): Most kids don't care. If they do have a problem they get that notion from somewhere. But most just see their friends and have empathy.
Mary Robinson: There's a huge difference between raising your kids to respect everyone including trans ... but also NOT encouraging them to go down that road themselves. Why would any parent encourage their child to have a very difficult, painful life?
Chris Long Eckenrod (In response to Mary Robinson): Why would any parent want their child to live any life but the one that they are destined to live. The problem for so many generations was making others feel dirty or immoral or freakish because they didn't fit some kind of mold designed by other human beings.
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Cecelia Zitarosa: Thank you Eric! Transgender does not mean sub-human and it's jarring that people out there still think those terms are synonymous. A human is a human — end of story. We are all the same exact species except for one chromosome. Another person's desire to transition has zero effect on you so why put up a fight? We should be lifting them up and reminding them that we're all people and they deserve acceptance, not alienating them.
Human rights, people. It's not a novel concept. It's not about bathrooms, as it never was about water fountains.
Lisa Schukay Marshall: I understand not everyone is OK with transgenders but you can't pretend they aren't out there in society. Our children will ask about them and my son has. Just a few years ago he had a male classmate who read girl books and played with girl toys and I know it doesn't mean he'll be transgender but my son needs to know it's ok and that people can like and be who ever they fell comfortable being. It's not right to ignore it or teach them otherwise.
Mike O'Dea (in response to LisaLisa Schukay Marshall): I totally agree that people are going to be what they want to be and that so long as who they become isn't harmful to others, then we can respect their choices. That being said, a child looks for guidance from its elders in its effort to grow into a productive member of society. If as elders, be it parents, guardians, etc, we fail to pass on thoughts and values to our children and opt to instead allow the still forming young mind of a young child to dictate the choices he or she will make that will impact him or her for a lifetime then we have failed that child.
If a person chooses to change their gender as an adult, that's their choice, but a small child, I don't believe that's the responsible choice for an adult to make for that child.
Tom Wheeler: A small percentage of people and parents can't accept the gender they are born or their child is born, but yet they expect the rest of the world to accept the gender that they are not. To each their own, but why are children under 18 years old even allowed to change their gender?
Richard Keller: When I see a 3- or 50 or even 10 year old think they are the opposite sex, the problem is not me and my beliefs, the problem is "their" parents. No way should a young child even know or think about things like that unless someone is telling them it.
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Maya May: I am sorry, I do not want my child to grow up in a place where the original genders are erased. A women's and men's bathroom should remain in public schools. The transgender children should be able to choose a bathroom from the two. That common bathroom BS needs to stop. We are not all the same, so do not try to erase our identities.
Madeline Krueger Luke: If God put you on this Earth as a female He had a good reason. Same goes if He put you here as a male. Don't mess with the Almighty Creator. Thank Him for the life He gave you.
Sharon Lax: I am so sick of "liberals" classifying me as a racist or bigot. Just because I don't agree with their ideology doesn't mean I am a racist, or a bigot. I can disagree with your ideas and still be a kind and caring person that wants fair treatment to all. That doesn't mean I have to agree with every new PC policy that comes out of the left wing of this country. How come if you disagree with me, you aren't considered a bigot for hating those more conservative or religious?
Gayle Brummer Rodriguez: Public rest rooms have individual stalls. Teach your children (boys) to use them all the time. Shower and changing rooms should also have individual stalls so one can shower and change in private. The issue is not going away, and whether we agree or not with its morals, transgender is out there. Talk with (not alarm them) our children about it and teach them basic personal privacy rules (like using a stall). I know it's not the "end game" answer, but will do in the meantime.
Tom Kelly: I'm sorry but transgender people is nonsense and a made-up condition by idiot psychiatrists and Donna is NOT the problem. The problem is liberal idiots that push this nonsense.
Jim Piazza: Ok. I'm a bigot, then. I can't accept it and I don't have to. Free country, remember?
— Comments have been edited slightly for length, clarity, spelling or punctuation.
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