Metro Weekly

Students at Central Texas high school walk out after a trans girl is barred from locker room

School district's policy limits trans students to using single-stall accommodations or facilities matching their assigned sex at birth.

school, students, texas, lgbtq, trans
The student protest at Temple High School in Temple, Texas – Photo: KCEN.

Last Wednesday, students at a Central Texas high school organized a walk-out and protest after one of their transgender schoolmates was allegedly barred from using the girls’ locker room.

The protest was organized after a Kendall Tinoco, a 16-year-old student at Temple High School in Temple, Texas, posted on Instagram on September 22 that she had tried to use the girls’ locker room only to be blocked by a teacher. The Instagram post got 4,000 likes and inspired calls for a transgender rights protest.

Videos of the protest, which were shared widely on social media, show students waving transgender and rainbow Pride flags in a hallway while a teacher shouts at them to “Go back to class!”

Temple Independent School District spokesperson Christine Parks told NBC affiliate KCEN that additional security and police were dispatched to campus to ensure the safety of staff and students on Wednesday. But she also noted that the protest, which took place during third period, remained peaceful. She also warned that some students may face repercussions for participating in the demonstration.

“Students have the right to peaceful protests,” Parks said. “However, if such activities result in student behaviors such as skipping class or leaving a classroom without permission, then these Student Code of Conduct violations will result in consequences as outlined in the Code of Conduct.”

Parks said that school administrators met with Tinoco and her parents to review the district’s guidelines for transgender students, which require that trans students be identified by their “legal surname” as it appears on their birth certificate, other proof of identity, or a court order allowing a name change; dress in accordance with the dress code; and use a gender-neutral restroom, locker room or changing area if they do not use facilities that match their assigned sex at birth.

See also: Full appeals court will hear case of Florida trans student barred from boys’ restroom

A similar policy instituted by a Virginia school district that barred trans students from facilities matching their gender identity was struck down last year by a federal appeals court as unconstitutional. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to hear an appeal of the circuit court’s decision, prompting the school district to eventually settle the lawsuit for $1.3 million.

Tinoco, a junior, noted that she had not previously encountered any problems using facilities designated for females, and had even received support from some of her teachers when she was transitioning. She said she was heartened by the show of support from her fellow students.

“Overall, I was really proud to see all of the people come together and stand for one another,” Tinoco told KCEN. “Just support after support after support. It was really amazing.”

See also:

Florida high school crowns first transgender homecoming queen

Gay man claims he committed insurance fraud because of “gay lifestyle”

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