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Canadian Trans Student Denied Access to School Bathroom

Spencer

James Spencer, a transgender student at Clarke High School in Durham Region, Ontario, can't use the men's room at his school despite going through the demeaning chore of collecting signatures from half the student body, Metro News Canada reports:

He’s been granted access to the women’s washroom and a private washroom that needs a key from the main office — neither of which work for him.

“I thought, ‘They’re figuring it out, it’s temporary,’ but as time went on they’re portraying the message that transgender people are wrong and they need to be segregated. And I don’t sit well with that,” said Spencer.

Spencer was born Samantha De Graauw. He began transitioning in Grade 10 while at school in Cobourg. Then the rumours and bullying started. He moved in with his sister and enrolled at the new school in Clarington as James Spencer. Sex? Male.

During his first week and a half, he said he was asked to go to the bathroom at a Harvey’s beside the school while the administration found a solution. Officials deny sending the student off-site.

Spencer awaits a solution.

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Comments

  1. Jen, I totally agree. When some bible-thumping bigot is looking to "stomp a mudhole" in some random queer, he's not going to ask whether they are trans or gay or what.

    Kiwi, although I can certainly understand why you might be annoyed with anti-trans bigots, I tend to find that it's easier to sway people to the cause if you keep the ad hominems to a minimum. I usually prefer a well structured argument, because anti-trans people tend to show off their ignorance and bigotry pretty effectively on their own.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 14, 2012 5:05:19 PM


  2. DrDonna, I agree. in Theory.

    but these anti-trans commenters are The Unreachables - they're literally the anonymous internet trolls who live just to reinforce their own hate and insecurity. they don't wanna learn. learning means accepting the reality that their online rants distract them from.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 14, 2012 5:16:24 PM


  3. Kiwi, I can definitely understand where you're coming from. When people who have a full knowledge of trans issues and experiences still troll and act like bigots, that's pretty crappy. My main problem, though, is that a lot of people may have opinions that they share with those trolls, not through bigotry but through lack of knowledge of trans folks. I tend to worry that, by reacting in a confrontational manner to the trolls, one might inadvertently polarize those other, reasonable people, who view the ad hominem as an attack on them because they have those same views. I usually try to get the information in there, so people realize that the trolls are trolling and that they are not in solidarity with those same trolls. Then, they can be in a position to learn more and become accepting, or possibly even allies. It's much less satisfying in the short term, but I usually content myself with the idea that its helping to pave the way to a better future.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 14, 2012 5:45:31 PM


  4. Kiwi, I can definitely understand where you're coming from. When people who have a full knowledge of trans issues and experiences still troll and act like bigots, that's pretty crappy. My main problem, though, is that a lot of people may have opinions that they share with those trolls, not through bigotry but through lack of knowledge of trans folks. I tend to worry that, by reacting in a confrontational manner to the trolls, one might inadvertently polarize those other, reasonable people, who view the ad hominem as an attack on them because they have those same views. I usually try to get the information in there, so people realize that the trolls are trolling and that they are not in solidarity with those same trolls. Then, they can be in a position to learn more and become accepting, or possibly even allies. It's much less satisfying in the short term, but I usually content myself with the idea that its helping to pave the way to a better future.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 14, 2012 5:45:34 PM


  5. Donna, you have no idea how much I wish I could be more like you in that regard. Baby's still working on it. ;-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 14, 2012 5:56:25 PM


  6. LOL at some clown adopting my name to troll (or some idiot that unfortunately shares my name) It's not going to work, you bigoted clown. Your anti-trans hate is repulsive.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 14, 2012 6:09:03 PM


  7. "Donna, you have no idea how much I wish I could be more like you in that regard. Baby's still working on it. ;-)"

    OK, who is this imposter and what has he done with the REAL LittleKiwi, who as we know, thinks he is at the center of the universe and never admits to a weakness of any kind? But seriously, it's a delight to hear Kiwi write these words. Let's hope that one day he can understand that others are still working on changing their own behavior and making amends for prior homophobia and lack of sensitivity to LGBT individuals. And that maybe people who do this shouldn't have to be called "c**ts" and told to "f**k off and die" whenever they disagree with Kiwi on anything.

    Posted by: Mary | Nov 14, 2012 7:04:25 PM


  8. @TheDrDonna:

    "Transgender refers to anyone who operates outside traditional gender norms."

    Yes, I know that. Which is why your original comment that conflated "transgender" with transsexuals was wrong. The above definition also shows why the term transgender is so broad and vague as to be meaningless. Under that definition, straight men who hug one another are trans. Women who wear their hair short are trans. A straight frat boy who dislikes sports is trans. What a nonsensical term contrived by a bunch of uneducated and mis-educated activists. And yes, by this definition, the vast majority of trans people will be straights.

    Your other points:

    - Don't cite wikipedia if you want to be taken seriously.

    - Don't know how you know what every Bible-thumping gay basher knows about distinguishing LGB from T. But even if you are right and the bashers lump the 2 groups together, that is no reason for us to follow suit. Stop perpetuating their bigotry.

    - Trans activists are unbalanced. I know that they do not all agree on everything. You'll find a diversity of opinions among the patients in any psych ward, but that doesn't chance the fact that there is a consistent lack of mental and emotional balance among them. Misogyny and homophobia are also very common.

    Posted by: Dev | Nov 14, 2012 10:14:44 PM


  9. This IS his mom and I can assure you that I have nothing but love and support for James! Why he changed his last name is really none of your business and is not relevant to his story. Making assumptions about the parents of transgender people is as offensive as making assumptions about transgender people. James is not a 'victim'. He is a strong, intelligent, brave, loving, kind, generous, thoughtful, funny, friendly human being who would go out of his way to help anyone in need. He has always stood up for what he believes in, not only for himself, but for others and I couldn't possibly be more proud of him!

    Posted by: James' MOM | Nov 14, 2012 10:57:54 PM


  10. Dev,

    Hahaha that would be funny if you didn't appear to be serious. Ok, first of all, I don't actually recall using the term "transgender" at any point. Of course, maybe your eagle eyes saw it, but I just can't seem to find it in my rereadings. It certainly seems as though you've decided to define transgender so broadly as to render it meaningless, but I think that there's a difference between talking about typical gender roles and stereotyping about genders. You appear to have chosen to believe that transgender is defined in the broadest possible sense, and gone from there. Lets, from here on out , assume that "trans" means people who live outside of gender roles, not gender stereotypes.

    Regarding Wikipedia, I think it's funny that you criticized an annotated source rather than responding. For the purposes, lets use this study: ([7] Leavitt F, Berger JC (1990). Clinical patterns among male transsexual candidates with erotic interest in males. Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 19, Number 5 / October, 1990)
    Regardless of the fact that this doesn't address trans men, I think it's fair to say that it found that two thirds of trans women were LGB, a far higher amount than the general population. Would you care to respond, and possibly include a source? You made a claim that most trans folk are not LGB, with no sources, regardless of quality. Care to back it up?

    Queers are queer. We were given that label and we are still viewed that way by society. We took it back, but just because there are more LGB or because there are some differences between the causes doesn't mean they should be entirely distinct. As Lincoln said, "a house divided..."

    Again, you are posting an unsubstantiated rumor. I can do that too. There are no people who have ever identified as trans and ever done anything that could be construed as negative. Every trans person is a philanthropist millionaire renaissance man, or woman, who loves everyone with the deep love normally reserved for the better class of deities. There you go. See how useful that was? Without a source, it's meaningless. Please get that.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 15, 2012 12:31:54 AM


  11. Thank you, Thedrdonna.

    Back in the day we used the term "drag queen" whether the transwoman was transsexual or transvestite. The transvestites were OBVIOUSLY part of the Gay communities around the world. The transsexuals (as you pointed out) may have been part of Gay communities at some point...and, sometimes, choose to remain part of the Gay communities after surgery.

    Straight tranvestites are the ONLY ones who are not part of the Gay world.

    How many f.ckin' times must we debate this f.ckin' issue? I've known Gay men who hated drag queens since the 1960s. I found those bigoted Gay men detestable back then and I still do today. They are Gay gay-bashers.

    Watching "Paris Is Burning" should be a requirement of anybody who calls themselves Gay.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 15, 2012 9:58:27 AM


  12. Frankly, I know James very well, he's a good friend of mine and I happen to be in the middle of transitioning (AKA I'm on Hormone Therapy and I have applied for my legal name and gender change) It isn't a matter of what anyone thinks on his gender, fact is he and many people including myself are pretty much kids, and we are told we can't use the bathroom. That's wrong no matter the gender! It's a bad enough anxiety when you have to plan your whole day around what bathrooms you can use but it's even worse when you have to go to school and deal with it. I can't use a female's washroom, I look, sound, and act like a man, and I'm attracted to girls, it's really inappropriate in my case, but I'm told I can't go into the male bathroom? It leaves me with no choices. It's the same with James, why do haters even bother typing out their hate? Do you really have that little of a life that you have to destroy someone else's? James and I both have had our lives turned around and dumped on us. We were dealt bad cards and it's sad that some of you feel the need to trash our attempts to make it just a little better

    Posted by: Tyler | Nov 20, 2012 9:07:51 AM


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