I’m testing something out. I am going to calmly and politely address the concerns of one of the California assemblymen who oppose AB1266. Below is what I posted to Tim Donnelly’s Facebook page (he appears to frequently respond to posts). He’s been making the rounds on conservative media outlets, saying some very problematic stuff. I’ll update this if he responds.
Hi Tim, thanks for taking the time to read this. I was just reading an article about your plan to pull one of your children (I’m sorry if I get any of these facts wrong, please correct me if so) out of public school in protest of AB1266, which expands the rights of students who may identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.
I understand your concern, but I’d like to hopefully provide another viewpoint. Basically, Rep. Donnelly, this bill does one thing: it lets kids who may be dealing with gender dysphoria know that they’re not freaks. It lets them know that they’re just as valid and loved as any other child in the state.
41% of all transgender individuals attempt suicide at some point during their life (compared to < 2% of the general public). Being transgender is a true challenge in itself, and believe me, is not something anyone would choose.
Growing up, I remember being so afraid to tell anyone in my life how I felt, how much emotional (and eventually, physical) pain I was in as a result of the fact that in my heart of hearts I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be a boy. I remember being 8 years old, crying and praying for God to let me wake up and just be like the other girls. Every night, more and more desperate.
I didn’t tell my parents, my teachers, or anyone else. I was afraid that they’d treat me like some sort of monster. I wasn’t a monster. I was a kid. I was a scared kid.
As puberty hit and testosterone began to fuel my system, my emotional pain turned into a physical one. Like a diesel truck being filled with regular unleaded gas, my body wasn’t running on the fuel it was wired to. I began mentally and physically falling apart.
I stumbled through high school and college (I was an A student), and I settled in to a job, working my hardest, wanting to contribute. All the while, my body continued to falter, continued to collapse under pressure.
Finally, at the age of 26, I began hormone replacement therapy, slowly reducing the level of testosterone in my body, replacing it with estrogen. Almost immediately, the physical and emotional pain I had dealt with for the better portion of my life disappeared. I was able to be me, able to smile, able to laugh.
I wish I would have had the courage to begin this transition earlier in my life. I would have been spared so much pain, so much sadness. With all the pressure of grade school and high school, the need to fit in, I have nothing but admiration for any student willing to come forward as themself, transgender or otherwise.
I find it hard to believe that anyone would willingly subject themselves to the ridicule that is sure to come along with coming out as transgender just for the chance to access a stalled bathroom or locker room. People come out as transgender because they have to, because there’s nothing else left, because they’re at the end of their rope. It’s not a game or an excuse to access certain spaces.
I don’t expect this to change your mind, but I hope that I’ve at least provided a new perspective on people like me. I’d love to have a discussion with you, and if you’re willing, please send me a message and I can address any concerns you have about transgender people.
I wish you nothing but the best.
Tim Donnelly responded.
Parker, I appreciate your perspective. My objection to AB 1266 is not an objection or a protest of those who find themselves suffering as you did; it is with a government-mandated solution that will likely subject those who identify as transgender to even more abuse at the hands of their peers, and will subject the majority of students to the same intense discomfort that you experienced. If you read what I have written about it, and listen to my interviews, I have applauded local administrators for resolving this painful situation for a very small number of students with sensitivity and compassion, by making a private accommodation. The idea of the gov’t opening up bathroom, locker-room and other sex-segregated facilities and activities to pretty much anyone is deeply concerning to almost all parents with whom I’ve spoken. (AB 1266 has no requirement for any substantiation of the claim, which is counter to CIF policy, requiring at least 3 items of proof of transgender identification). This bill is not a solution; it is a recipe for disaster that will make everyone’s situation worse, and serve as a massive distraction from the stated purpose of our schools, which is to educate our kids. Thank you for sharing your story. Godspeed.