HILLSBORO, MO (KPLR) – Should transgender students be allowed to use the gender-specific locker rooms and restrooms of their choice?
The controversy comes after a transgender student, who identifies as female, began using female facilities at Hillsboro High School.
There were so many people who showed up to Thursday night’s school board meeting that they had to move it into the gym, something that has not happened for a regular meeting in the past. This topic was not even on the agenda, but it was clear why most parents were in attendance, judging from the thunderous applause and standing ovation after one parent spoke.
High school senior Lila Perry said she’s known she was transgender since she was 13. Last February, she decided to come out. She didn’t take gym class that semester and used the gender-neutral faculty restroom. But this year, Perry said she wanted to fit in with the rest of the girls, so she started using the girls’ bathroom and locker room.
Parents said their daughters were uncomfortable, because even though Perry wears dresses and a wig, she is still physically a male.
Derrick Good, a parent of two girls at Hillsboro and an attorney, worked with other parents and a conservative advocacy group to draft a new school district policy on the issue, which he believes would be upheld in court. The policy calls for students to use a restroom associated with the gender they were born with, or a gender neutral restroom.
“They should have the ability to do whatever they need to do in the privacy of the bathroom without having a male in there,” Good said. “They have a right to their own bodily privacy, and I’ve raised my girls, and many of these parents have raised their girls, to protect that privacy. They don’t share that with members of the opposite sex.”
Good said the school district is concerned about stripped funding if a civil rights lawsuit came their way, but he feels the school board should be more concerned with his daughters’ rights to personal privacy.
It’s unclear when and if the school board will make a decision on this. Members of the school board said they cannot comment on the matter.
For her part, Perry said there’s no risk for anyone.
“I’m not going to hurt their daughters. I’m not going to expose myself. I’m not a pervert; I’m a transgender woman; I’m a girl. I’m just in there to change, do my business, and that if they have any questions about being transgender, they are more than welcome to talk to me, and I’ll be happy to explain it.”
Perry said she’s been attacked on social media and fears bullying and violence if she were to start using the boys’ restroom now.
Meanwhile, the gender neutral bathroom option still stands.