I fully support the proposed 2022 Guidelines. The 2021 Guidance put schools in the position of severing the parent-child relationship, of deciding what is best for a child and of unduly influencing a minor child. While supportive schools are essential, and the rights of every student are equally important, parents know, love and care for their children far more than schools, which are transient in a child's life. The previous 2021 guidance went far beyond State and Federal Law in wresting decision-making and authority away from parents and handing it over to schools and non-guardians.
This new guidance appropriately revokes the deceit authorized by the 2021 guidance, which in practice directed schools to conceal its interactions with a minor child, whether over counseling or use of pronouns, facilities etc. This deceitful aspect of the 2021 guidance was one of its most problematic and dangerous features.
The previous guidance also cited and relied on resources only from ideological groups and smaller committees of medical professionals. There is growing evidence, internationally and nationally, of harm from rushing children to gender transition, and the previous guidance fostered this by its complete omission of full research. Most countries in Europe are moving away from the gender-affirming only approach, because of the accumulating evidence of harm to children. Schools should never take on the role of influencing a child's sexuality or gender identity, and the previous guidance put schools in this position by an entirely one-sided approach to gender, rather than a balanced one as would be true of an evidence-based approach.
Additionally, the previous guidance put girls and women in harm's way by allowing males into all their safe spaces. While the intent of the 2021 guidance is to allow transgender students to chose facilities, the practice in the way it is worded disallows questioning of any male entering a female space. Further, the population of girls and women who have been victims of sexual assault is far greater than the population of transgender students, and it is wrong and dangerous for these women to have to fear males entering private spaces with them. There are reasonable and fair ways to protect transgender students without taking away the right to privacy and safety of every female in the system.
Further, the former guidance unlawfully compelled speech as to pronoun usage, again going far beyond both State and federal law. Every child deserves equal respect, but the law does not grant them the right to compel the speech of others.
Every school will have to work out ways to respect and support transgender children, including for children who may face danger at home. It goes without question that support, compassion and respect are essential to caring for transgender children in schools. The answer, however, is not a blanket order affecting all families by unlawfully removing parental authority and involvement from a child's life, as was the effect of the previous guidance. Schools and counselors should be partners with children and parents, not usurpers of parental roles.
This policy is a great step forward in removing the excesses of the 2021 Guidance.