Welcome Back - Transgender Kids - Melissa Ballard - Trans Families - Transgender Universe

The past week has been so stressful for many transgender kids and parents with the start of school in Texas (and I suppose in many other states as well). Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in favor of the proposed temporary injunction to stop transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity. Our state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton led this charge and filed on behalf of Texas and 12 other states. O’Connor mentioned the law “[Title IX] specifically permits educational institutions to provide separate toilets, locker rooms, and showers based on sex, provided that the separate facilities are comparable.” What he did not take into consideration is that a trans woman is a woman, and a trans man is a man, thus the appropriate facilities should be utilized by said persons.

“We do know of some schools that are supporting our transgender students, but there are far too many who are not.”

Unfortunately O’Connor did not make his decision until late Sunday evening leaving many anxious about the beginning of school the very next day. I know of several students in our area that have been denied access to preferred bathrooms, denied participation in sports, and even denied use of their preferred name on school files and in class. We do know of some schools that are supporting our transgender students, but there are far too many who are not.

Welcome Back - Trans Families - Transgender Universe
If the blow to our kids’ esteem was not enough with the injunction put in place, AG Ken Paxton filed another suit just this week that blatantly discriminates against transgender people regarding the basic needs of healthcare. Joining Texas in the lawsuit are Wisconsin, Kentucky, Nebraska and Kansas, as well as Christian Medical and Dental Association and Franciscan Alliance, a network of religious hospitals based in Indiana. The lawsuit claims that federal directives regarding healthcare services could force doctors to help with gender transition contrary to their religious beliefs. I thought medical providers took an oath, the Hippocratic Oath, which is one of the oldest binding documents in history. The Oath which was written by Hippocrates is still held sacred by physicians in which they promise to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability, also to preserve a patient’s privacy, etc. This oath is meant to remind doctors and medical providers how to treat patients, as humans, and “to do no harm.” While the oath is not a law per se, there have been several US judicial decisions made referencing the oath such as Row v. Wade and others. While there is no direct punishment for breaking this oath, it is likened to current day malpractice suits and the penalties that can come from findings by the court in such matters.

“This is certainly not a battle that will be won or decided quickly, but it is happening at the expense and well-being of our transgender students. “

This is certainly not a battle that will be won or decided quickly, but it is happening at the expense and well-being of our transgender students. The people making these decisions need to research and investigate the validity of what they are doing. There is scientific evidence and medical documentation that supports affirming transgender youth. As parents, we will continue fighting this discrimination against our children. We stand with civil rights groups including Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Texas, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) who are working towards equality for all LGBTQ people. We hope this does not take the community back 30 years, undermining the progress made. In a joint statement these five groups have said the following:

“A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination”.

We now will have to wait and see if this injunction makes its way to the Supreme Court and if it will be upheld. Until SCOTUS steps in and makes a ruling on these filings, we will continue educating those with questions and doubts, one person and one heart at a time. For those struggling with our current social climate, know you are not alone. Know we will not stop until there is equality for our kids and the transgender community.

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Melissa Ballard is a native Texan with a wonderful husband, Ken, transgender teenaged son, Ashur, and a quirky daughter named Kennedy. When not struggling with multiple sclerosis or chasing her husband while cycling for Bike MS, she is advocating for trans kids and their rights. In early 2015 a group was formed as a social connection for local transgender kids and their families and soon after www.dfwtkf.com was born. In just under a year, the social group has grown to more than 100 active members including parents and siblings of trans and gender non-conforming kids. Speaking to others and letting them know they are not alone is one of her greatest goals and will continue to be a focus in the future.