GREENVILLE – Posters displayed recently in the halls of Greenville High School are bringing attention to the controversial subject.
In early November, a group of students organized a chapter of GSA – Gay Straight Alliance Network. Meeting twice a month, students who idtentify as part of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer (or Questioning) community gather to share their thoughts, beliefs and experiences. The + sign donates other gender identities in the LGBTQ+ community.
“We talk about problems we’ve been facing,” said 17-year-old Mykie, who now identifies as a male ” and try to figure out ways to help with our problems.”
One of those problems according to Mykie, a senior, has been in the news most recently in the Troy City school district.
Students who identify as ‘trans’ want to be able to use bathroom facilities they feel comfortable using. In this case, Mykie wants to switch from the girls bathroom to the boys.
That’s where the posters come in. Mykie posted several flyers (posters) around Greenville High School, titled “We should NOT have to fight for our rights as a human being.” The info on the flyers went on to ask the reader to think about “how hard it is to be included into something when you know you feel completely different than how you look. What about the times you were laughed at or called names for something you wear?”
According to the website, transstudent.org, transgender is identified as: “Transgender/Trans: encompassing terms of many gender identities of those who do not identify or exclusively identify with their sex assigned at birth. The term transgender is not indicative of gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life.”
Public schools are required to adopt policy to comply with Title IX, which states that no person shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation, be denied benefits or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal assistance.
Flyers posted by the GSA identify Mykie by name and introduce a petition students may sign in support of students choosing which bathroom facility they feel most comfortable.
In the flyer Mykie stated “I wrote a petition to allow every trans person to use their preferred bathroom and dressing room Sign the petition and help make the school equal and inclusive.”
As of early this week, 189 of the school district’s required 250 signatures would be secured prior to a Thursday, Dec 1 meeting scheduled with Superintendent Doug Fries.
Soon after the GSA flyer was posted, others with opposing viewpoints started appearing around school.
According to Principal Jeff Cassell, those flyers were posted by the FCA – Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Although their message was written in first person, no individual student’s name was included on the FCA flyer.
The flyers were signed off by Marty McCabe, a local businessman who advises FCA.
The Early Bird reached out to Superintendent Fries and McCabe for a comment. Fries responded by saying, “The two individual restrooms (one by the cafeteria and one across from study hall) will be open to individual use by any student.”
The FCA poster leads off with “We should not have to feel uncomfortable or worried by using the restroom at GHS.”
The message goes on to say the writer is a “concerned student at GHS. I do not want to have to worry about a woman coming into the men’s restroom or a man coming into the woman’s restroom. There is a solution to this controversial problem. In order to make all students feel accepted at GHS we should provide a safe, secure facility for every student. Girls and boys can continue to use their designated restrooms and if something feels as if they should have a choice, they may use the family restroom provided by the nurse.”
Mykie wrote a second message addressed “Hello GHS” and went on to provide what he feels is an acceptable solution to the bathroom problem.
“I want to meet in the middle so everyone feels comfortable,” he said in an interview with The Early Bird, where he explained where there are currently three boys bathrooms and three girls bathrooms in the high school. Mykie’s solution is to designated two of those bathrooms as trans – “have a male and female bathroom be inclusive to transgender people, and anyone that feels comfortable using that same bathroom can do so.”
Mykie said the idea to attempt to change bathroom policy at GHS came when he returned to school this fall after being homeschooled his junior year. After telling school administrators he is now to be referred to using male pronouns and by the name Mykie, he was showing a bathroom to use.
A light bulb went off saying, “hey, why don’t I just change it myself,” Myke said of current bathroom policy.
Mykie said he also was the student who began the application process to start a GSA club at the high school. About 10 students – which includes “allies” attend. Allies are individuals who want to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Mykie’s goal in helping start the GSA Club, as well as start the bathroom petition, he said is to “make every community in this town a safe place for everybody and that everybody would be treated equally.”
Since the flyers began showing up, Cassell said he has instituted a revised school policy due in part to students pulling down both the GSA and FCA flyers. Only organized groups may now post, Cassell said. “No personal opinions, but only clubs or organizations may post 10 posters for one wee,” he explained, and then only in approved posting areas. Material included on flyers must be approved, Cassell said.
Cassell also said he is willing to work with both students and administration on solving the problem of the transgender bathroom facility.
“As a public employee, my opinion doesn’t play into it,” he said explaining he will “uphold the policy” made by the board of education and also said as principal “I look at is as how am I going to police it.”
The next Greenville Board of Education meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 15.