The Osseo Area school board has been pushing to introduce a new Gender Inclusion Policy for the Osseo District 279, which they say would help to create a new inclusive space for students of all genders, gender identities, gender nonconformities, and sexual orientations. The proposed policy reads that the school district will, “Respect all students’ sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and gender nonconformity.” The policy also says that the school will no longer allow for activities that separate the students by gender.
The policy promises that the district will require the schools to have, “School officials [that] will work with families and students to identify one or more safe staff members that gender nonconforming students can access if they require additional support during the school day.” Concerned citizens spoke out against this proposed policy at the June 22 school board meeting, while several parents spoke in support of the Gender Inclusion Policy.
One speaker, Luca, who said that she lived as a transgender individual for 30 years, asked where the “safe space” would be for students who do feel that they fit into traditional gender roles and do not want to share their bathrooms and spaces with students who no longer identify with their gender assigned at birth. She asked, “Where is the place for them to have their rights protected?” Luca challenged the phrase that states that the Gender Inclusion Policy is for all students and will protect all students.
She shared that she works with students in the highschools, that know that they were genetically born male or female, who say that there is no place for them anymore and that they are now feeling discriminated against.
Another resident shared a statistic that 90% of children with gender dysphoria will outgrow it, and questioned whether the new policy will truly support students who have struggled with gender dysphoria and then decide to transition back into their gender assigned at birth.
Parents of a transgender child also spoke at the meeting, in support of the policy, saying that they would sleep better at night with this policy in place to protect their son. They believe that the policy will help to protect their transgender son from bullying and harassment and will require the district teachers to use his preferred pronouns.
Another parent spoke in support of the policy and said that her eight year old daughter wanted to be there to speak in support of it as well. She shared that her daughter knows how to properly use they/them pronouns and “understands that some people feel different inside versus outside.” She said that this is a more inclusive world and that children who do not identify within traditional gender roles are becoming more common. She continued that their family has known “gender non conforming friends as young as preschool.” She asked that the school board pass the new policy because it will “ensure that teachers and staff and students are all respecting those students who are gender nonconforming.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]