Gardner families protest proposal to ban trans students’ choice of pronouns

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:24 PM CDT
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GARDNER, Kan. (KCTV) - Parents in Gardner, Kansas, gathered at a school board meeting Monday to protest a proposed policy that would require students and staff to use pronouns that match their individual birth certificates.

Jeff Miller, a board member, brought up the issue in a July meeting. The policy would also define sex as the “physical condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s birth certificate.” It would also set rules on bathroom use and threaten discipline for noncompliance.

Miller prefaced the policy by vocalizing that the district was in need of consistent policies from building to building.

Parents like Melanie Douglas quickly voiced their concerns about the policy in the days that followed the meeting. Douglas, the mother of a 15-year-old who identifies as trans, said it was important to her child to use their preferred pronouns at home and at school. She said classmates and teachers had been using them for the past two years.

“Since we’ve used the preferred name and pronouns, depression is better, anxiety is better,” Douglas said. “I don’t want to revert to where we were before.”

Douglas disputed some board members’ depictions of trans students and gender identification as “distracting.”

“I don’t see how it affects them,” she said.

Douglas was among the protestors on Monday night. Other families of trans students came to demonstrate, as well as allies.

Douglas said she has been encouraged the community support.

“I just think we need to value people for who they are,” she said.