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When her local school board decided that a transgender individual had the right to see her naked in the locker room, swimmer Julia Burca of William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, could hardly believe it.

Burca was among those who witnessed the School District 211 Board of Education vote in November of last year to grant transgender high school students unrestricted access to the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choosing. The issue had been brewing for years, including lawsuits filed against the district.

Vicki Wilson, a Palatine resident who founded the group Parents for Privacy, called the new policy “a joke and a slap in the face,” according to the Daily Herald.

“When you turn all intimate spaces co-ed, that’s egregious,” Wilson said.

For Burca, the tears that came after the decision all but choked off her words.

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“I feel uncomfortable that my privacy is being invaded,” Burca said in a video taken in the aftermath of the vote. “As I am a swimmer, I do change multiple times, naked, in front of the other students in the locker room.”

The teenager said she understood the school board’s “obligation to all students” but was crushed the board had not taken into account students with concerns such as hers and made honest compromises in solving the problem.

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Burca had urged the board not to act.

“For me, the idea of this proposal scares me,” she said during the public comment portion of the meeting at which the vote took place, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“When I get out of practice from a long, tiring workout, I do not want to see a transgender student naked in the locker rooms. I do not want my privacy invaded against my will. I am just one girl, in the midst of an entire district, but I have feelings too and am against this policy,” she said.

Superintendent Dan Cates said the previous policy granted “access to the locker room of a student’s gender identity upon the student’s agreement to change clothes in a private area within that locker room.”

He tried to minimize the impact of the change adopted by the board.

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“Our own direct experience shows that providing locker room access based on gender identity has resulted in no disruption in our locker rooms,” Cates said, according to the Tribune.

“Other school districts that allow locker room access without any limitation as to where transgender students may change clothes have successfully implemented such policies without disruption and in a manner that protects the interests of all students,” he said.

Nova Maday, a biological male who identifies as female, had sued the school district in 2017, before his graduation, to get it to adopt the policy that was adopted last year, and said at the meeting that he always wanted “to be treated like any other girl.”

“Throughout my time in high school, the vast majority of my classmates treated me just like any other female student and allowed me to be myself,” he said. “Those students have been waiting for you to change this policy. They have never seen this as a controversy and only want to be inclusive and supportive of other students,” Maday said, according to the Tribune.

Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden has said he supports the rights of transgender individuals.

“I promise you. There is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied your [transgender] daughter … that your other daughter has a right to be and do,” Biden said during an October town hall, according to Education Week. “None. Zero.” 

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Jack Davis 2020-12-25 07:36:15

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