Discrimination | Education | Florida | News | Transgender

Trans Nursing Student Threatened With Expulsion For Using Restroom

Alex WilsonAlex Wilson is a trans woman studying to become a nurse, and who is currently taking classes at Pinellas Technical Education Center in Clearwater, FL. All that could potentially change, however, should she choose to use the restroom located in the same building as her classroom. Instead, she must travel to the administration building, and use a one-person restroom in what she calls a "a closet". If not, the school has threatened to press charges and to throw her out of the program. 

Previously, Wilson had chosen to use the women's restroom closest to her classroom. That unfortunately changed when another student took it upon herself to complain to administrators. She was subsequently pulled out of class and told that "if I continue to use the female restroom that I would have charges pressed against me. And that because of that I would be removed from the program as a nurse.” When asked to describe her new "private" restroom, Wilson told WFLA News Channel 8, "It's a small restroom in, what looks like a storage part of the administration building. There's some cabinets, cleaning supplies."

Melanie Marquez Parra, a spokeswoman from Pinellas schools has told the press that they are looking into the issue to better understand exactly what took place and whether school officials could have handles the situation differently. 

“In a scenario such as the one you’re describing , a person will be offered access to a private restroom. And that’s for the individual’s privacy and for the privacy of other students." 

ThinkProgress noted that, had the school simply offered the private restroom as an alternative, rather than issue an ultimatum, such action "would actually be commendable." They went on to explain that "there are some trans and gender nonconforming people who feel safest when they can access a private single-use facility." It is unclear as to which restroom Wilson would prefer to use, if given the choice. It is also uncelar exactly how her presence in the women's restroom could potentially impact the privacy of other students. 

Unfortunately, Equality Florida notes, there is no statewide statute that protects trans people like Wilson from this sort of discrimination. 

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  1. Icebloo:

    "Equal is not equal until it includes EVERYONE."

    Why is EVERYONE limited to trans people? You don't say that you would fight as hard for the rights of the elderly, or of the poor in Appalachia or of coal miners in West Virginia as you would for your own.

    You say that about trans people, but you leave out millions of others. I guess EVERYONE doesn't really mean everyone.

    Posted by: Tim | Jul 11, 2013 6:44:34 PM

  2. MY 2 CENTS:

    A-- "People" like "Rick" remind me of Creoles saying they deserved better status than people who were very black.
    WHEN ALL THE QUEERS ARE PUT INTO OVENSBY THE FAR RIGHT... everybody goes, including Rick.

    B-- LIFE IS NOT FAIR --a trans woman who resembles a football player is going to have a lot harder time in that school than a small Filipino in transition, because she is more threatening. She deserves to be treated well, but she will feel healthier if she allows for that

    Posted by: Bob | Jul 11, 2013 7:35:28 PM

  3. "Why do you define yourself based on linkages that homophobes make? Homophobes also confuse gay people with paedos, so you had better start calling yourself one, I suppose."

    That's a strange and illogical argument, @Oliver. I said much of the discrimination against gay people comes from same phobic place as discrimination against trans people. It has nothing to do with how I define myself or live my life. And I never said I was transgender, but neither am I bisexual or a lesbian.

    You're also making a false equivalency between being a pedophile and being transgender. Pedophilia is a criminal act; being transgender is not. By making the association you're using the logic of bigots.

    It's hardly a lie to say that L, G, B, and T people have overlapping issues unless you only know gay people who strictly conform to so-called gender norms and who've never been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity. Putting LGBT together also hardly implies that our issue are all identical, but that's true of lesbians and gay men and bisexuals, too.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 11, 2013 8:26:14 PM

  4. Oh yes there is Rick spreading disinformation. Rick is yet another example of human filth spreading lies on Towleroad because Towleroad thinks it is fine and dandy. Rick, you should join the evangelical party of straight people -- it is what you long to be. You really should, you would feel right at home. You sound like an isolated, unfortunate human being.

    Posted by: ArkArk | Jul 11, 2013 8:40:45 PM

  5. Trans people are not part of the gay community. In fact, they are the opposite. Gay people come to terms with how they were born. Trans people wish to DENY and CHANGE how they were born.

    If you have XY chromosomes, a penis and testicles, you are a male. If your brain tells you you are a female, the problem is in your brain, not your body. And having a psychological need to amputate a natural and healthy body part is obviously a manifestation of mental illness.

    Surgery does not turn a male into a female. It turns him into a male who has had surgery. A castrated male with a surgically created hole is not a female. And a real vagina is far more than a hole.

    Posted by: Hilda | Jul 11, 2013 8:45:54 PM

  6. A lot of the posters on this site would benefit from reading: "Warrior Princess" the true life story of a 20 year veteran of the Navy Seals who identifies and now lives as a woman.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 11, 2013 11:32:05 PM

  7. @Hilda: You seem not to understand the difference between biological sex and gender. If you did, you would also understand that the same argument can and is used to deny gay people rights: because gay people's brains tell them they aren't as nature intended--which is to reproduce with the opposite sex--we're not fulfilling our biological destiny. Furthermore, you focus on surgery, when many T people don't have surgery, and you leave out that some transgender people are also gay.

    Not all gay people wish to be part of the LGBT community. And not all transgender people want to be part of the LGBT community. Everyone has the freedom to identify with whatever community they want to identify with. But, like it or not, discrimination against gay people is often if not usually gender discrimination, the prejudice coming from the same narrow mindset.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 12, 2013 12:04:41 AM

  8. Ernie, it is your logic that is failing. I am not equating transgender with paedophilia. *You* are positing that when homophobes link gays with some other group, that justifies our linking ourselves to that same group, i.e., homophobes see gays as gender conformists and see transgenders as gay, therefore gays and transgenders should join together and define themselves as one group.

    That is flawed thinking. My point was that there are plenty of homophobes who equate gays with paedos, but you won't follow your logic to its natural conclusion. Instead, you introduce a previously unmentioned exception. Well, you say, paedophilia is illegal, so we don't have to lump ourselves with paedos.

    So now gay identity depends on not one but two factors entirely in the hands of others 1) which other groups homophobes may link us with, and 2) the legal status of those other groups may be. You may have heard that homophobes link us to fornicators, and fornication is legal, so then should we add an F and conform our identity accordingly? For that matter, it is not even true that the mental disorder of paedophilia is illegal, only the sexual acts are. So will we need to add a P and an F? Then there's all the other things we are linked to by various homophobes: florists, interior designers, figure skaters, adulterers, various fetishes, paganism, satanism, communism, Nazism, and liberalism. With the exception of adultery, all of these are legal. Do all these get letters too? Or are there still more exceptions for you to introduce?

    No, sir. There is no logic to LGBT. It is ideological fiat at work. Some queer academics in the late 1990s decided that LGB needed to be lumped in with T and it was picked up by the activist community and implemented without thought or discussion.

    As for overlapping issues with Ts, that may be true. But we also have overlapping issues with immigrant groups, organized labor, the hetero HIV community, African Americans, and women's groups, to name but a few. We are allies with these folks. We don't create a fiction that we are "one people" with all of these groups.

    Why is LGB logically justifiable when LGBT is not? Because L, and G and B all share a common *inherent* trait - same-sex attraction. That is a truth that doesn't depend upon the beliefs and misconceptions and stereotypes held by straights or homophobes. It doesn't depend upon the ever-shifting roster of potentially overlapping political issues. It doesn't depend upon any group's legal status. It is a common bond that derives from ourselves, from our nature. That does not exist with Ts, who are not defined by sexual orientation, and who in fact are mostly heterosexual.

    You lead a nice, privileged life out there in Vermont. It looks lovely. Once in a while, you should think outside your bubble and ask yourself if there are consequences for vulnerable LGB youth when you tell them that they are something that they aren't.

    Posted by: Oliver/UK | Jul 12, 2013 12:28:16 AM

  9. "*You* are positing that when homophobes link gays with some other group, that justifies our linking ourselves to that same group"

    Not what I said at all, Oliver. What homophobes think has nothing to do with it. T is included with LGB because many LGB people see commonality with transgender people and stand with them as part of our larger community. Other people, like yourself, don't think T belongs with LGB--difference of opinion. (If attitudes like yours prevail, then I expect T will be dropped.) This post wasn't really about LGB anyway, it was about T. Some people even seemed to object that it was included on Towleroad at all since T is so so so different from LGB, never mind that gay people are also excluded from bathrooms because of gender presentation.

    In my experience (which isn't particularly privileged and extends beyond the "bubble" of VT), LGB youth are very in favor of including T as part of their community. They would find it strange not to. Your experience of youths in the UK may be different.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 12, 2013 11:00:00 AM

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