A group of parents in Wisconsin are suing a Milwaukee school district for affirming children’s gender identities by using their preferred pronouns.
The parents argue that Kettle Moraine School District’s policy violates their “fundamental constitutional right” to “raise their children.”
One set of parents said they were “forced” to remove their 12-year-old child, who identifies as trans, from school after staff said they’d refer to him with the correct pronouns, despite the “parents’ objection.”
The parents contacted the school’s principal, arguing that affirming their child’s identity would not be “in their [son’s] best interest,” but the principal disagreed, saying that his pronouns and name would be respected in line with district policy.
They now claim that their son has “changed [his] mind” about his gender identity since being removed from school and told them that they “had been right to slow down the decision to transition.”
A second set of parents joined the lawsuit out of fear that the school might affirm their child’s gender identity, should they identify as trans.
The lawsuit states that the Kettle Moraine School District is “undermining and overriding parents’ decision-making role with respect to a major and controversial issue.”
It continues: “Specifically, the district has adopted a policy to allow, facilitate, and ‘affirm’ a minor student’s request to transition to a different gender identity at school — without parental consent and even over the parents’ objection.”
The lawsuit describes a child’s gender identity as a matter of their parents’ “own system of beliefs.”
It also claims that schools referring to trans students with gender-affirming pronouns is a form of medical treatment, and that parents are required to consent to medical treatment for their children.
The lawsuit is being brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom. The Christian law firm, which supports criminalizing consensual LGBTQ sex, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2016.
Also backing the case is the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative nonprofit known for opposing trans student Gavin Grimm’s legal fight to be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia school.
Research shows that consistently using a trans youth’s correct names and pronouns is associated with lower rates of depression and suicidal ideation and behavior.
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