NCTE’s Mara Keisling Talks CA Equal Access Law on NPR

Today, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling joined Michel Martin of NPR’s Tell Me More to discuss issues facing transgender kids in public schools, and California’s law allowing transgender students fair and equal access to school activities and facilities. Keisling was joined by Gayle Trotter, a conservative columnist and Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum; Melanie Mason, a reporter covering this law for the LA Times; and Jennifer Savage, a parent of a gender non-conforming child.

Though Trotter agrees that efforts should be made to accommodate transgender and gender non-conforming students fairly, she repeated outdated talking points on the unfairness of the law for student athletes and for maintaining a sense of modesty for children in restrooms.

Trotter said:

“I think there’s also a really important part of school is being to teach the truth and to understand bodily integrity. And when we have this type of ideological law that’s trying to push these types of ideas to young children, who are still very impressionable, trying to understand the world, then it’s harmful not only to the children who are dealing with these sensitive issues, but also the other children who are trying to draw truth from school and to understand how the world works.”

Keisling responded:

Well, the NCAA has looked at this really carefully. They have really good guidelines, they have studied and studied and studied that. And, you know, I just have to kind of call out Gayle’s use of the word truth. What she’s talking about is her truth. And in her truth, gender nonconforming children, like the 7-year-old we just heard about, don’t really exist. And transgender people don’t really exist. Transgender people are perpetrating some sort of fraud in that version of the truth. And, you know, in reality, we have these kids who don’t fit in who can’t follow that false truth, that discriminatory old-fashioned non-truth truth. So you have to be able to get to the point where you understand that a transgender girl is a girl.

And if you’re not willing to accept that even though her parents have accepted it, the medical community has accepted it, everybody in the world has accepted it, you’re never going to understand that the school districts aren’t bothered by this law. They like how it is. Several of the largest school districts had already had these policies in place – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and some others – and more and more have implemented them because the truth for these schools is there are transgender kids and they want transgender kids to have access to programs and facilities so they work on it. They work on it on a case-by-case basis with the students and sometimes the parents because that’s the real truth.

Learn more about the effort to keep this law on the books here.

Listen to the full interview here.

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