Bigoted Parents Bully Transgender 12-Year-Old Girl Out of School

In the midst of a national conversation about bullying, we expectgrown-upsto be the rational ones, modeling good behavior for their children. But in Achille, Oklahoma, a bigoted parents group forced a 12-year-old girl, identified as “Maddie,”to leaveschool.

You might wonder what could possibly lead a group of mature, rational, responsible adults to lose control of themselves like this, and the answer is that Maddie is trans and needed to use the bathroom at school. That’s it.

For the crime of needing to pee, Maddie and her family were subjected to a horrific campaign of abuse and harassment that got so extreme the districtclosed the school for two days to investigate and take proactive steps to improve safety.

But Maddie’s parents have had enough: They plan to relocate from Oklahoma to Texas, where they have family members and they hope to find a more safe, welcoming environment.

The despicable adults at Maddie’s school might think this is a win, butthat notioncouldn’t be further from the truth — it just proved that narrow-minded, cruel people can casually ruin lives in a way that runs very contrary to the “family values” many transphobic bullies like to espouse.

This story has another tragic twist: This is not the first time Maddie and her family have been bullied out of town because of her gender. Prior to her residency in Oklahoma, her family lived in a small Texas town that turned hostile as she entered social transition.

Prior to the incident that triggered this episode, Maddie had been instructed to use the faculty restroom at school. This kind of “separate but equal” bathroom access at schools is a common situation for transgender students, and it’s really unjust.

Faculty restrooms aren’t necessarily readilyaccessible from all portions of a school, and sometimes they require an adult to unlock the door, forcing students to ask for permission to use the bathroom. Some disabled trans students may face an additional burden in the form of accessibility obstacles.

It’s worth noting that limiting bathroom access can have serious physical consequences: Transgender people may wind up with urinary tract and kidney infections, bowel problems or dehydration from restricting water intake to avoid restroom use.

Telling trans kids to use the faculty bathroom or segregated single-stall restrooms is dehumanizing, a point made by trans student Gavin Grimm in his fight to use the boy’s room. Maddie is a girl. She should use the girls’ room. She’s there to use the restroom, and for no other purpose.

That’s why, whenMaddie was in an unfamiliar school building, she went ahead and used the girls’ room; she couldn’t figure out where else to go. When she did so, it set off a chain reaction, with hateful parents taking to a Facebook group to heap unspeakable abuse on her–including threats of violence, cruel misgendering and comments referring to her as a “thing.”

According to theWashington Post,people from out of state swarmed in the comments as well, joining the hateful party — and thanks to Facebook’s reliance on real names, at least one hateful commenter, Kevin Bickerstaff, is facing career repercussions because of his involvement in the conversation.

When the school reopened with added security, Maddie was given ahall monitor to follow her around, which made her stand out even more. Meanwhile, her mother reported that she was afraid to sleep in her own bed, and the family was not staying at home. You can see why her family is raising money to assist with moving costs toleave the area.

Maddie’s tragic and infuriating situationtook placein a state with no protections for transgender people, which emboldens bigots to be hateful. But even in states where the law explicitly affirms transgender rights, this can also be a battle of hearts and minds — not just the law.

No one should feel unsafe at school — or anywhere else — because of their gender, and Americans clearly have a long way to go when it comes to treating people with compassion and respect.

Take Action!

Sign this Care2 petition to demand that Achille’s officials hold these hateful adults responsible.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here aresome guidelines to help you get startedand soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Creative Commons

58 comments

Diane E
Diane E17 days ago

Please stop bigotry. People have basic human rights. Teenage mental health is suffering and young, vulnerable people are suffering abuse and mental torture.

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda M19 days ago

SHAME on you transphobic bigots! SHAME on you for bullying an innocent girl for simply having to use the restroom! She was BORN transgender the same way you were born with the height, hair color, eye color, or other physical trait you have-she didn't CHOOSE it. Margie FOURIE, making a trans kid use the bathroom that matches the "physical" gender that they were born into (which is the wrong one that they do NOT identify as) is just asking to have their asses kicked, especially once they start their transition. Transboys will be seen as a threat in the girls' room, and transgirls will run the risk of everything from bullying to rape to beatings in the boy's room. Does that bother you at all? Let Maddie use the girls' room!

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer25 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
silja s
silja s27 days ago

Shame on You ... Yes you self promoting bigots, Yes you worshippers of unkindness, Yes all of You who engage in this hatred and Shame on You who stand by and do nothing. Shame on all of YOU

SEND
Mike R
Mike R27 days ago

This is awful. Shame on the parents.

SEND
Freya H
Freya H27 days ago

Shame, shame, shame on the vicious parents who forced a family to move because their child is "not right." Maddie can't help being what he/she is. You can't help your gender identity anymore than you can help your eye color.

RK R, what's with the word salad?

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer27 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer27 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Tania N
Tania N27 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Tania N
Tania N27 days ago

Thank you

SEND