Listening: Parents & Individuals Concerned About Safety This Fall

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Quick note:

Note: On the very day of this post, the Supreme Court of the United States of America decided not to here a case involving gender identity and bathroom usage in public schools in Virginia. That means that males who identify as girls currently have the right to use the restroom that they identify with in public schools. Some parents are nervous and wonder what is next if the Supreme Court of the United States will not intervene.

We’ve been hearing from Survivors who are still triggered and traumatized by strangers, people they aren’t familiar with, or don’t trust, who have the same physical anatomy and/or physical advantages as their abusers in the past. For these folks being in any disrobed state can cause anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and fear.

“Just the thought that someone may look at me or take pictures of me from the next stall is terrifying.”

Some of these folks readily agree with and others are considering (parents & individuals), that this upcoming school year they will be seeking special individual accommodations for their children/selves.

A few parents have expressed concern about their female children ever encountering a male student who identifies as another gender while at least one of the children is partially or fully nude.

*Marissa’s child is extremely friendly and has previously been taken advantage of by some of the other neurotypical children. When she was only dressing out for gym or going to the bathroom with girls, her mother had concerns. “What if the other girls were setting her up again?” (When Marissa’s daughter was younger, the other girls thought it was fun to trick her into kissing the boys.)

But, now, those concerns have extended to possibly becoming pregnant.

“Her health and well-being is my only concern.”

It is possible that accommodations can be made whether or not your child has a diagnosed disability. Just be prepared to fight for your child’s rights, needs, and safety.

For some parents this may mean that their child be allowed to go to the restroom with the written assurance that no other person will be allowed to use that restroom.

Some of the schools have more private bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing areas.

Some parents may contact schools to arrange to meet, discuss, and sign written agreements that their child be able to use these facilities.

I can’t promise you that other organizations will not see your request for information about your options as “being mean”. Remember, people often think that anyone, especially women and minoritized people, who assert their boundaries are “being mean.”

Therefore, I won’t recommend any particular organization. Try organizations for people with disabilities, disability coordinators, pediatricians, parenting groups, victim support groups, independent living services, or political representatives at state and local levels.

Going forward, I think women’s, disability, parenting groups etc……are going to have to advocate for third spaces for females who have needs (religion, prior trauma, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, etc) that assert that they be in female-only spaces for their safety, well-being, and protection. If educational institutions, businesses, workplaces, need to build these third spaces then fine. While they are there they can make these spaces more wheelchair accessible, better lighting, and more secure as well.

In my personal and professional experience, women and girls deserve safe spaces at all times but ESPECIALLY when they are in any state of nudity. Especially they want and desire privacy. If parents and individuals are able to preserve the current spaces designated for women and girls I fully support this.

However, if institutions, businesses, etc…continue to insist on fighting/ignoring this, then people have no choice but to push these places to absorb the cost and resources to protect each and every individual using their premises. If that means building new facilities, better facilities, then let the infrastructure building begin. I like new things, don’t you?

NOTE: To be clear, no parent nor individual has said that they have a problem or concern with everyday interaction with anyone for any reason. The only expression of concern falls around sex/gender identification of treating professionals, and times when they, their child, or someone else will be either partially or fully nude.