For them it’s not even a question

Framing is everything.

Transgender teen bullied for using girl’s locker room

Being a transgender teen at Galesburg High School, Ali Mcdorman, always knew she would eventually encounter hate. However, she never thought that hate would come from an adult.

“I feel like grown people…like adults… wouldn’t target a teenager,” said Ali McDorman, a 16-year-old student who identified as transgender three years ago.

But Ali said she was targeted. In a Facebook post last week, one parent wrote:

“Did you know… that Galesburg High School is allowing a male student (who identifies as a female) to be in AND a change in the same locker room as the girls while they are changing?? #GHS “

“It wasn’t derogatory towards me necessarily. They didn’t say my name,” Ali admitted. “But I am one of the three trans females at the high school. So I assumed it was me. I bit the bullet and I basically announced myself to be that person.”

That’s one way to frame it, but there are others. There is, for instance, “Girls at Galesburg High School forced to change clothes in front of boys.” The needs of Ali Mcdorman aren’t the only needs at issue here, but they are the only ones the story talks about. Ali Mcdorman apparently doesn’t pause for a second to wonder if girls might feel uncomfortable or worse having to share their locker room with him, regardless of how he “identifies.” He seems to think he’s the only person who matters here.

“I believe there was close to 200 shares, and about 800 comments,” said Holly McDorman, Ali’s mother. “I don’t think the original post had that intent (to bully Ali). But it certainly got to the point that Ali was definitely bullied and name called.”

“I think this entire situation blew out of proportions too quickly,” Ali said.

According to the National Center For Transgender Equality, transgender students have the right to use restrooms and locker rooms “that match their gender identity, and can’t be forced to use separate facilities.”

And according to the National Center For Burglars’ Equality, burglars have the right to force open windows and help themselves to whatever they find inside.

In other words the National Center For Gender Equality can assert that “right” all it likes, but the fact remains that such a right conflicts with the right of girls to have some facilities separate from those of boys, specifically toilets and changing facilities. Informing us what the National Center For Gender Equality says doesn’t mean we have to bow and tug our forelock and say “Okay.”

“For us it’s not even a question,” Holly said. “She’s a girl. She’s a female. So, of course, she’d use the locker room. Why would you send another female into the men’s locker room? It’s just that simple to us.”

That’s nice, but the article says Ali is transgender, so Ali is not a girl or female, Ali is a boy who “identifies as” a girl. We don’t all agree that “identifies as” magically changes people’s sex. It’s not self-evident that Ali’s self-identification should overrule girls’ disinclination to change their clothes in the presence of a boy. The girls have feelings too.

Now, both mother and daughter said they just want every student to feel safe and accepted in school.

“We can let everyone know that it’s ok to be themselves and that they can find acceptance in the world,” Holly said.

But what if they’re girls? What if they’re girls who don’t feel safe taking their clothes off with a boy in the room? What about them?

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