Fairfax Schools Pass Gender Identity Equality

Fairfax County Public Schools passed an amendment to their non-discrimination policy, adding “gender identity” to the list of disallowed reasons for treating people differently.

Here’s their new policy:

No student, employee, or applicant for employment in the Fairfax County Public Schools shall, on the basis of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity, as required by law. It is the express intent of the School Board that every policy, practice, and procedure shall conform to all applicable requirements of federal and state law.

The vote was 10-1-1 (ten in favor, one opposed, and one abstaining).

Good work, you guys!

Check out the ridiculous placards held by some young women who were there:

I have yet to hear of anyone peeking over the stall walls where equality policies protect transgender persons, but I am going to assume such a practice would already be cause for discipline in the public schools, and that it still will.

If anyone ever does it.

Author: FirewallNOVA Left

I'm the voice from left of center at FirewallNOVA. Sometimes pretty far left, sometimes pretty close to center. Sometimes maybe not left of center at all. But, mostly, I'm a bleeding-heart liberal or, if not, the crowd on the other side tends to think I am. I can live with that.

34 thoughts on “Fairfax Schools Pass Gender Identity Equality”

  1. Questions:
    1) I’m a horrible judge of age, but could you blur the faces of the young women in the photo so as to not subject them to undue harassment? They look under 18 to me.
    2) Let’s say there’s a biological male who identifies as a female. Can they join the cross country team as a female?
    3) While you scoff at their placards, what is the locker room situation going to be? A young woman who identifies as a male and joins the football team is swatted on the behind with a towel in the shower. Is that sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the parents going to be easily dismissed?

    1. When you go to a public meeting, which is being covered by news media there is no expectation of privacy. The sad part is I would be willing to bet those views come from parents not from students. Obedience is big in the fundamentalist “Christian” culture. The Virginia High School League makes the eligibility rules for high school sports. I’ve been a Christian for 65 years, but these fundamentalists don’t speak for me. They seem way too interested in what goes on in school bathrooms.

      1. Wow.
        Yes, there is no expectation of privacy. But there should be an expectation of civility. If Left going to poke fun (“ridiculous placards”) at kids, then they need to grow up.
        Wow.
        ‘Obedience is big in the fundamentalist “Christian” culture.’
        Somehow, that’s a bad thing now?
        And you’re implying that Liberal parents don’t have their toddlers out there holding up “Vote Obama” signs?
        And it’s great to know that you can tell a fundamentalist Christian just by the clothes they wear.
        Shouldn’t Obedience be a good thing, and practiced by all sorts of kids from all walks of life? To denigrate Obedience, and then follow that up with a reference to VHSL making the rules is very odd. Will only fundamentalists obey the VHSL rules?

        1. My point was that VHSL makes the eligibility rules for HS sports, not individual high schools. And as for obedience, you may want to do some further reading on obedience in the “Christian” patriarchy. My four children have grown up to be impressive adults. While we expected them to do what we asked, negotiation was acceptable and we did not expect unquestioning obedience. I have 3 high school age grandchildren- white blouse with a bow, I still vote fundamentalist, maybe not FCPS students at all, maybe homeschoolers.

          1. That’s an excellent point, that many of the detractors don’t even have children attending FCPS.

            From what I saw and heard around me – such as many hecklers yelling about defunding the school system – these were people heavily recruited from the hardcore patriarchal church community that encourages homeschooling and private Christian schools. The flyer being circulated by the hate group “Traditional Values Coalition” explicitly recruited that demographic with a bullet point claiming that this policy change will affect homeschoolers and private schools. The school board wisely recognized that this was not a mainstream crowd that represents the views of Fairfax generally.

            It was also without a doubt the rudest and most poorly behaved group of adults I have ever witnessed at a public meeting – and I’ve witnessed some doozies.

    2. Sorry Bob, I should have responded directly to you, instead of below.

      Asking questions is much better then thinking you already know the answers.

      I think you have some basic misconceptions about what it means to be a child in the circumstance this policy addresses. That

      1. I guess I don’t understand what your proper terms are. And you’ve chosen to give some lofty definitions that somehow means that once a person realizes or envisions then their penis magically disappears or appears as the case may be.
        And I don’t have any misconceptions of what this means and what the impacts are. I have a child born as one gender who chooses to identify as the other (most of the time) and they have been doing this in school for several years. I have a friend who has gone through the complete transition. I have met and spent time with another child who often identifies as not-their-biology. I’ve had a coworker and a teacher go through the transition from one to the other.
        And I will say that for some of the youngsters, they are willing to change their gender as the kids of old would change their hair color. My child included – some days they’d rather be a boy, sometimes a girl.
        To claim that kids can be diagnosed prior to puberty and that everything will be settled prior to high school sports is uninformed.
        My point on question #2 is not meant for the early diagnosis, early treatment case but the case of a 17 year old boy who one day thinks “I’m going to run track as a girl.” Let’s say some boys think it’ll be a great laugh if they race the Oatlands Invitational on the girls’ team. The old standard was that a person had to live as the sex and have hormone treatments for 2 years prior to being able to compete.
        My point on question #3 is – what happens if a minor child (with female parts) chooses to go to the boys locker room? Are the parents supposed to give permission? What if they find out what’s going on when their child comes home complaining of behavior in the boys’ locker room? Behavior that might be dismissed if it were same sex antics.
        Bottom line, you (and this Fairfax rule) have some alternate clean-cut reality out there that is far from what goes on inside of a school.

        1. That’s why I’m trying to help you understand this better, Bob.

          If you have so many acquaintances who are transgender, you should really understand more than your comment indicates. If you have a child who “chooses to identify as” a gender different from the one they were assigned “most of the time,” what are you doing to understand and support your child? What help have you received?

          Some of what you’re describing here is a matter of kids experimenting with gender expression. Some kids do feel that they have aspects of both genders or are agender. You’re correct that this is not the same thing as early childhood diagnosis and transition. You shouldn’t be conflating them. On the other hand, if every one of these older youth had the benefit of early diagnosis and parental support, some of them would probably now be in the category of socially transitioned child I’ve explained to you above (which, btw, has nothing to with their genitals, which no one sees or should see. Why are childrens’ genitals so important to you?)

          In no case would a 17 year old boy be able to one day think “I

          1. I really do understand this issue pretty well. And I believe, based on your oversimplifications, better than you. Life is lived and lawsuits happen in the confusing and edge cases. A child who switches by age 3 is not the issue. No one would even know.

            I believe you’re conflating gender with gender identity. You keep going back to the gender definition, but the Fairfax rule says “gender identity.” I believe that “gender identity” is closer in meaning to “gender expression” than “gender.”

            “But the medical condition itself is, in fact, a clear-cut reality.”
            Again, you’ve latched onto one condition – and a medical one. I’m more curious about the confusing and edge cases.

          2. And to your point about the Arizona child. I agree completely with what the AIA did. They examined all of the facts, they talked to the doctors, the parents. They have this latitude because the term in their bylaws is “gender.”
            How much latitude would they have if the term was “gender identity?”

          3. Bob, I personally think that “gender identity” is a confusing term, for the very reason you are expressing. It actually does mean the same thing as gender, since gender is determined neurologically. Unfortunately, different people mean a whole variety of things when they use the term “gender.” They may mean gender of assignment or reproductive biology, they may mean social or legal gender, etc.

            I think it would be far more precise to use the appropriate modifier when using the term gender, and do away with “gender identity” altogether. A separate term for it suggests that there could ever be a case in which a person’s gender identity and actual gender were different. If you understand what gender is, you know that’s not possible.

            In any case, people don’t get access to gendered facilities on the basis merely of their gender expression, i.e., how they look and dress. That’s never what “gender identity” means in terms of policy. It means gender as used by the AIA. I believe this will become clear when Fairfax issues its guidelines.

  2. 1) The picture is a link to WUSA’s server, so you’re seeing what they published.

    2) Transgender students have been playing on the team of their own gender identity for a while now, and have the approval to do so from the sanctioning bodies of at least ten states. You can find info about that online. To be absolutely sure, you would have to consult an astrophysicist, but I believe the Earth still continues to revolve once very 24 hours.

    3) Come on, team sports build character. No one on a sporting team would behave like that.

    1. “What they published”==No responsibility here. We just pile on insults. In a couple months, re-read what you posted and think whether you’re adding to the bully culture – especially against kids – or not.
      Yes, no matter what we do, the Earth will continue to revolve. Guess that leaves us free and clear to do anything we choose.
      My mistake, I thought this site could be a forum to reasonably discuss real issues. Guess I’ll try that bull elephant site.

      1. Those women are not minors. I was at the meeting and saw them in person. Reporters were doing their job and identifying their subjects.

  3. To the third question… the person being swatted is male. He isn’t a “young female.” I’ve never heard of a case where one dude filed a sexual harassment against another dude for swatting him on the behind with a towel in the locker room. I suspect such a lawsuit would be dismissed.

    1. Ok, so there’s an example.

      Speaking of immaterial.,.. either way, this question and example has nothing to do with gender identity as a part of the non-discrimination policy. We’re talking about two boys.

      1. Just responding to your dismissal that a “dude” would never sue a “dude” over something like a towel snap, and in the unlikely event it DID happen it would be thrown out, not to the larger issue of sex v. gender in protected-class legislation.

        (this is my problem with “hate speech” and “hate crime” activism–crime is crime, and is not MORE crime based on the identity politics status of the murder victim, or rape victim, or assault victim, or…)

        Yes, it is an example, and an interesting one to me, as the basis of the assault charges were that the hazing was sexual in nature, even if not intent, and involved what it appears even you write off as part of male sport culture. I wonder if it would be more significant if it had larger overtones of rape? Aren’t the highest rape statistics those coming from prison? (I mean actual sexual assault–not “triggering” words like “violate” being suggested for banning in law classes–as in, “does this violate the statute?”–that common usage being noted for making some students feel “unsafe”)

        Back to the main issue–just recalled that event when you dismissed the potential. It apparently CAN happen, and did.

      2. From the Times-Mirror article:

        “The student said he witnessed several varsity players holding down a player and inappropriately touching him.”

        “Individuals at Briar Woods came forward last week after the Times-Mirror reported on two incidents this month in which junior varsity players were held down by varsity players and subjected to abuse that involved sexual exposure. The sheriff

        1. David, that is only one article on the incidents, which detailed offenses ranging from pantsing and towel snapping on up, in which several students were cited for behavior in varying degrees of severity.

          I find it interesting that minimizing “dude” behavior seems so very important; if a male transgendered student had been a victim here, would it be more nuanced?

          Seriously, my only interest here is that advocates of respect and affirmation for gender and sexuality issues (which in some justice circles very much include “rape culture”) would trivialize and dismiss so-called “dude” behavior.

          Carry on, folks.

      3. No doubt, what they’re calling “hazing” behavior occurs on a continuum, and that’s a whole conversation in itself. But I think the point here is that there was an alleged criminal sexual assault, hardly something to dismiss.

        Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, but aren’t you arguing that criminal behavior is equally criminal regardless of who the target is? I don’t see how you can have it both ways.

        1. Two different things David.
          1: criminal behavior (or bullying behavior, or hazing, or lack of respect, etc) is just that, no matter the characteristics of the person mistreated,
          and 2: Bad behavior against group _______ is a very bad thing and must be legally addressed through policy, but THIS behavior is not worthy of discussion (Tuscarora Bob’s third question) because it’s only “___________” behavior. Can’t have THAT both ways, IMO.

      4. Are you saying that towel-snapping should be criminalized? What exactly are you suggesting?

        Yes, Tuscarora Bob’s question was about a non-criminal behavior by boys against other boys, and that’s how it was answered. If a trans guy was treated differently from all the other guys in this respect, that would kind of undercut the policy of treating all guys the same. Get it now?

        For all the howling Thursday night about trans kids using the correct facilities creating some sort of vague hazard, what we actually learn from this example is how baseless that manufactured panic is. I’ve seen no indication that the boys involved in these alleged sexual assaults are not cisgender boys abusing other cisgender boys, meaning that this actual, real life hazard has nothing whatsoever to do with trans kids using the correct facilities. Hence immaterial to the topic.

        1. lol David, no–towel snapping should not “be criminalized”. Unclutch your pearls, post haste! Or at least put the pitchfork down.

          Actually, it read to me that the third question was not “answered” (and not by you) but dismissed.

          And with language surprising in a social justice setting. Just “dude” stuff–I didn’t know that was a defense any more. For anything. 😀

          Get it?

          If not, no big deal.

          1. I’m not sure why this is so hard to understand.

            In the context of this post, the third question isn’t relevant. The third question is equivalent to

            ” A male who has joined the football team is swatted on the behind with a towel in the shower. Is that sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the parents going to be easily dismissed?”

            I have no idea if the lawsuit will be dismissed.

            I do know that it has nothing to do with the addition that FCPS made to their non-discrimination policy last Thursday, which is presumably what this post was about. That is why I was dismissive of it.

          2. a.e., you leave out part of the third question: it was framed as a biological female who gender-identifies as male, so yes, it asked a question related to school policies and transgender students.

            I actually DO understand why it’s so hard to understand that that “dude” dismissal isn’t getting a free pass–lol!

            Again, loving that it was dismissed with a toss-off that would probably be grossly unacceptable in the context of any number of other sexual/gender social justice discussions.

          3. a.e., it’s not hard to understand at all. She just doesn’t want to acknowledge that for a young man AFAB to be playing on the football team in the first place means that he is seen and treated in every respect as male. Which means that this hypothetical “lawsuit” would be treated the same regardless of whether the young man is cisgender or transgender. That’s the point, and I don’t see how either one of us can make it more clear.

          4. No David, sorry. As usual, you attempt to dictate my meaning and beliefs.

            My admittedly peripheral primary point has always been that dismissing the possibility of a male-on-male (whether trans- or cisgendered) lawsuit re hazing etc as impossible because its just “dude” stuff, is a STUNNING rhetorical lapse to be made by any social justice advocate.

            And you know it, which is why it must be so relentlessly dismissed and reimaged. 😀

          5. BM: Do you or do you not recognize the distinction between 1) unlawful sexual assault and 2) admittedly obnoxious behavior that nevertheless doesn’t rise to the level of criminal?

            It appears that you may not, because you continue to insist on conflating them. Bob’s question was about the latter giving rise to a successful lawsuit, not the former. What you raised as an example was the former, not the latter.

            Whether or not you do, the law recognizes these as different things.

          6. yes, a.e., I have and have had teenagers, I know “dude”.

            And in your definition, the word can mean male, female, or a group.

            That’s a convenient set of synonyms. 😀

            So, it’s fluid?

            Okay.

            “Dude stuff”.

            lol

        2. No David, again you are redirecting: the dismissal of even discussion of the potential issues at hand in that third question was made with stereotypic language that would not be acceptable in any way shape or form if the tables were turned.

          And again, you know that, which is why you continue to redirect, reimage, and so on. It is your usual MO, and that’s fine.

          I simply am enjoying that carelessly stereotyping young males (again, whether trans OR cis) is a slip that must be ignored as if it never happened. 😀

          1. “Dude” is a slang term. It’s a general term of address for a man, a woman, or a group of people. I was using it to describe a male… so I suppose in using the term I stereotyped a male as…. a male.

            Uh, sorry about that. I’ll try to be more careful in the future and avoid the use of synonyms.

  4. Bob, asking questions is much better then thinking you already know the answers.

    I think you have some basic misconceptions about what it means to be a child in the circumstance this policy addresses. That’s not surprising given the confusing and imprecise language often used in the media, such as your phrases “biological male” and “identifies as.” That language makes it sound as if there’s a conflict between the person’s “real” gender and how they “identify,” when in fact the conflict is between different biological characteristics: Reproductive structure and neurological structure, both of which develop prenatally. Gender is determined by the way the brain develops (so your first example’s actual gender is female, although they were assigned male at birth). Reproductive biology and neurological gender usually differentiate in the same direction, but they do develop independently of one another, hence this condition.

    Some people seem to believe that a child can walk into school one day, declare themselves to be the gender opposite the one they were assigned, and automatically have access to these accommodations, but that’s not at all the case. These children go through a lengthy diagnostic process to confirm that the assignment they received at birth was in error. This is a medical condition with a medical treatment protocol, and as school board members pointed out in their remarks, there are already many such children attending school without issue. Sometimes a child is enrolled in a new school as their correct gender, and no one ever knows their medical history.

    If she had been diagnosed in early childhood and not forced to go through the wrong puberty, the young woman on the cross country team would be indistinguishable from her peers. The very last thing she would want to do is to call attention to any biological differences that remain at that point. The notion some uninformed people have that a girl like this is “really” a boy who will threaten their daughters is just that – uninformed.

    The same is true of your second example. The young man on the football team will have gone through a lengthy process of diagnosis, living and attending school as his correct gender, hopefully blocking a female puberty altogether, and, when mature enough to make that decision with his family and medical team, beginning hormone replacement therapy so that he develops the same as his peers. That is the medical protocol now. What we know from earlier generations is that this condition doesn’t go away if it’s ignored; it results in either suicide or dysphoric adults who transition later in life when it’s more difficult.

    Children and youth seem to have very little difficulty understanding this phenomenon, which is fairly straightforward once you have accurate information. It’s only certain adults whose hair is on fire over this. Their display of willful ignorance Thursday night was shameful.

    One further point: It seems to me that people who consider themselves culturally conservative or have a “traditional” understanding of gender would be better positioned to understand this from a medical perspective, as they presumably understand that male and female brains are different. It’s the ultimate irony that they take the 70’s social constructionist position that gender is determined by ideological rearing, not by biology. These are interesting times.

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