Tag Archives: transgender

Middle School Diversity Day Speaker: ‘Gender is a lot more than what your genitalia are’


Photo above not from EAGnews (I just think it’s funny).

From me @ EAGnews.org:

Piedmont Middle School’s annual “Diversity Day,” included Cuban music, dance, jazz, hip-hop, and a transgender man who grew up a girl in Southern California.

Volunteers helped to organize the event and some parents brought foods representing their cultures while students were rotated through the classrooms to hear 16 speakers “representing different races, disabilities and sexual orientations.”

The driving force behind the annual celebration is the combined effort of Piedmont art teacher Kim Lipkin and film class teacher, Anne Smith, according to San Jose Mercury News.

It was in Lipkin’s classroom that students heard the story of Ali Cannon, a transgender man who grew up a girl in Southern California.

“Cannon talked about his journey, including feelings that he was different, rejection and ostracism by other girls in middle school and his final decision to change his gender.”

“We think of boys and girls in terms of biology, what’s between your legs,” Cannon said, “when gender is really a lot more than what your genitalia are. People identify all along the spectrum of what they feel inside.”

In another classroom, Piedmont parent Brij Kothari, president of Planet Read, talked to students about teaching people around the world to read.

Kothari told Mercury News that he believes diversity days are important.

 “The Piedmont school district is open to learning about other cultures, and the importance of that in a globalized world cannot be understated,” he said.

According to the news report, the school’s annual event has given middle-schoolers “a glimpse of the wider pluralistic world” for the past 15 years.

“Seeing diversity in simply racial terms does not account for the differences found in any community,” says Lipkin.

“You see the kids they are happy, they have their arms around each other and are very, very engaged with the people who are coming to talk about their lives,” Lipkin said.

“Everybody thinks it’s a race issue, but there are many ways you can be diverse and express diversity,” she said. “There is diversity within any culture, any color or any race.”

Diversity Day celebrations like this one take place in many public schools across the country.

In 2012, Gorham Middle School in Maine came under fire for a Diversity Day presentation that, according to parents, “turned sexual in nature.”

According to WCHS News, the school’s ‘Civil Rights team’ hosted representatives of the group PRYSM, Proud Rainbow Youth of Southern Maine, to talk about gender diversity and discrimination.

One parent, however, said her son told her that the presentation turned into a discussion about homosexual foreplay.


Utah High School Showcases State’s First ‘Gender-Neutral’ Bathroom



Transgender, gender variant, and gender non-conforming students now have their own bathroom at Park City High School.

According to KSL TV, the “gender neutral” restroom, believed to be the first in the State of Utah, was the idea of student council member Adam Snyder.

Snyder says he came up with the idea after reading that some colleges now have gender neutral restrooms for students and thought, “well, transgender students don’t just exist on college campuses.”

With the help of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, Snyder took the proposal to the Park City School Board.

Park City High Principal Bob O’Connor told KSL that he doesn’t want any student feeling fearful of using a restroom in the school, “so they have a safe place to go.”

According to the news source, a senior at the school, Tori Vipond, who doesn’t identify as male or female, “walks the halls, goes to class, washes up and flushes the toilet just like any other student at the school,” but “choosing which restroom to use has been a challenge.”

“I usually just hold it until I go to the restroom at home,” said Vipond.

While Principal O’Connor says there have been a few critical online comments about the restroom, students and staff appear accepting of the new facility.

In Canada, gender neutral restrooms are in the works for Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary Public Schools.

In Vancouver, a motion was passed last June calling for single-stall, gender neutral washrooms in all school buildings “so that a child will not have to tell anyone their gender based on the bathroom that they use.”

According to a report earlier this month from Global News Canada, the move to build the restrooms into the design of all new Calgary public school buildings was spurred by conversations with students from Gay Straight Alliance clubs and from concerns expressed by transgender students.

Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) were started by GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, an organization founded and led by former Obama safe schools adviser, Kevin Jennings.

Shortly after his appointment in 2009, Jennings resigned after several conservative organizations and 53 lawmakers called for his firing, claiming that Jennings had, “for more than twenty years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”

According to GLSEN, there are more than 4,000 GSAs in America’s middle and high schools today.