Transgender teens push for gender identity policies after Atherton decision

Published: May. 16, 2014 at 4:30 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2014 at 4:31 AM EDT
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Max St. John
Max St. John
Charlotte Langer
Charlotte Langer
Tara Raque
Tara Raque

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A transgender teenager who was born a boy but identifies as a girl can continue to use a girls' restroom at Atherton High School.

The school's site-based decision making council voted to add a non-discrimination policy that includes gender identity.

The policy and how to implement it will be reviewed further by the council.

Atherton's decision is a step forward for parents, like Tara Raque, who have transgender teenagers.

"I worry for their safety more than anything. If the students are wanting to use the restroom of their choice, then I think they need to figure out a way to let them do so and make sure they're safe," Raque said.

From daughter to son, Raque's child Max St. John now identifies as a man.

St. John is a junior at Doss High School. He's been told to use a restroom in the counselor's office. "I'm not allowed to use the guys or the girls bathroom," St. John said.

Jefferson County Public Schools do not have a system wide policy. And what's happening at Atherton has trans teens like St. John and Charlotte Langer paying attention to the outcome. Langer uses a single restroom at Kentucky Country Day school.

"I think it's a lot more dangerous to use the male restroom than the female restroom. I wouldn't pass as a guy anymore so for me to have to use the male restroom would be unsafe," Langer said.

Atherton's situation highlighted the debate whether JCPS should explicitly include transgender students and employees in the district's non-discrimination policy.

"It's really disheartening. It saddens me what these kids go through. The least the school system could is include and recognize gender identity and protect them just as they do all minorities," Raque said.

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