Tuesday, November 19, 2013

La Feria ISD Trans Student Will Have Pic In Yearbook

Photo: School district relents, will allow transgender student's tuxedo photo to appear in yearbook.
http://lgbtq.me/19rofsc"But based on what happened in 2013 and previous school years over the life of this blog, I'm betting I'll be writing a few posts during the 2013-14 school year chronicling your attempts to fight the power, express your trans selves and live your lives."
--TransGriot  Trans Class of 2014, Start Planning Now To Beat Your Trans Oppressors  June 8, 2013

It's not even Thanksgiving Day yet and I've already been busy writing up on this blog drama already happening across the country with trans students fighting against their trans oppressors to be themselves as they navigate this school year. 

And you can bet that prom season and graduation days will bring even more resistance, transphobic ignorance and anti-trans bigotry from school administrators. 

Have been keeping my eye on along with other trans Texans the unnecessary drama going on in the Rio Grande Valley with La Feria High School trans teen Jeydon Loredo.

The La Feria High senior received some transphobic resistance from newly installed La Feria ISD superintendent Rey Villarreal concerning his picture that is slated to appear in the school yearbook.  

Villarreal has only been in the LFISD supenintendent's chair for four months andl stated that due to nebulous 'community standards'  Jeydon's yearbook picture of him in a tuxedo would not be allowed to be placed in the yearbook unless he wore traditional feminine attire.

That got the Southern Poverty Law Center involved.   They threatened to file a federal lawsuit on Jeydon's behalf if the anti-trans bigotry didn't cease and desist.  It set the stage for a November 11 LaFeria ISD board meeting in which Jeydon addressed the board along with his SPLC attorney Alesdair Ittelson.

“As school board members, you don’t get to decide whether transgender students receive the same rights as students who are not transgender, ” Ittelson told the LFISD board. “You must treat Jeydon equally and with the respect he deserves. The fact is, you must allow the tuxedo photo in the yearbook in order to remain in compliance with the law.” 

“Please allow my community to remember me, and to remember me the way I truly am, in the clothes that reflect me: Jeydon Loredo,” he asked the board.

The La Feria ISD school board subsequently went into closed session but made no decision on the photo.  They also closed ranks, refusing to comment on the issue or make a final decision probably in a vain attempt to stonewall and hope the story and the negative attention it was focusing on the town and school district near the Mexican border would fade away.

The SPLC wasn't amused.  They threatened to file the promised legal action if the LFISD didn't make a decision in Jeydon's case by November 21.  After a November 15 meeting between the interested parties, the La Feria ISD reversed itself. 

Jeydon's photo will now be included in the yearbook (as it should have been in the first place).  The La Feria ISD agreed to follow its own policies for cases of gender discrimination and provide training for the persons involved.

They also agreed to do a comprehensive education program for the La Feria school community in addition to adding gender identity and expression language in its district anti-discrimination policies.  

“We are very pleased that the school district has recognized Jeydon for who he is and will allow his photo in the yearbook along with all his classmates,” said Ittelson.

"This is a signal to other school districts that transgender students should be recognized as important members of their communities rather than ostracized and subjected to discrimination. We applaud Jeydon’s courage in standing up for his rights.” he continued.

And Jeydon's Lone Star State trans brothers and trans sisters second that sentiment.  

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