East Aurora High School Troubling “Transgender” Policy Update
East Aurora High School Troubling “Transgender” Policy Update
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   11.13.12
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The East Aurora High School Board of Education recently passed a policy that would have permitted gender-confused students to use the restrooms and locker rooms designated for those of the opposite sex (i.e., of the sex that these students wish they were). The policy also mandated that district employees refer to these students using opposite sex pronouns (i.e., of the sex which these students wish they were), and it would have permitted gender-confused students to cross-dress at school without their parents’ knowledge or permission. 

The policy was rescinded four days later and the district administrator, Christie Aird, who proposed it and apparently misrepresented it to the board was temporarily placed on administrative leave. According to news reports, she implied or stated that the Illinois bullying law passed in 2010 required such a policy change. 

Here’s what every school district needs to know about the Illinois school bullying law: All it mandates is that schools must have a bullying policy and that they must register their policy with the state every two years. That’s it. The Illinois bullying prevention law does not require that schools have any policy whatsoever regarding restroom, locker room, or pronoun use for those who experience gender-confusion. 

Although the 2010 Illinois bullying law did, indeed, add the politically biased Leftist terms “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender-related expression” to the enumerated list of protected groups, the bullying law does not require that school bullying policy include reference to any enumerated groups (*see below for a sample bullying policy). And the “transgender” policy passed and rescinded at East Aurora High School had nothing whatsoever to do with bullying policy. 

East Aurora HS ad hoc committee to study “transgender” policy 

It was too much to hope for that the vote to rescind the misguided East Aurora High School policy for gender-confused students would remain unchallenged. Common sense and decency are in short supply in public schools, so almost immediately after the policy was rescinded, the school board formed an ad hoc committee to revisit the rescinded policy. The committee had its first meeting last week. Multiple sources have reported that the chairperson of the committee made it clear that she wants East Aurora High School to be the trailblazer on “transgender” policy for Illinois schools. 

As is common at school meetings about controversial issues related to homosexuality or gender confusion, promoters of sexual deviance outnumbered conservatives, both on the committee and in the audience. 

Serving on the committee are two adult cross-dressing males who wish they were women. “Joanie Rae” Wimmer  is a Downer’s Grove attorney, and “Crystal Ann” Gray, who lives in Woodstock, IL, works as a “transgender” advocate. Click here to watch a video of Gray and “Shari” Miller, another gender-confused man who as of 2008 was Gray’s romantic partner. Aurora parents, church leaders, and other residents should be outraged that this is who is coming into their school to create school policy that would affect their children. 

Also in attendance was Sara Schriber, former ACLU attorney and current policy director for the Chicago-based homosexual activist organization, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. This is the organization instrumental in getting homosexuality-affirming resources into Beye Elementary School in Oak Park. 

Lesbian Shannon Sullivan, another Illinois Safe Schools Alliance staff member, complained to WBEZ that opposition to this policy came from “outside groups,” namely IFI. Ironically, she said that just after admitting that the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, an outside group, had been working behind the scenes for months with Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Programs Christie Aird.

The Aurora community should demand that only Aurora community members may serve on the committee, and at the next election, they should get rid of any school board member who supports any “transgender” policy. 

Take Action: The East Aurora community needs help to prevent the school board from passing yet another “transgender” policy. If you live in Aurora, please attend the next meeting which is November 29 at 6:30 p.m. at 417 Fifth Street in Aurora (main office). If you know someone who lives in Aurora, please contact them immediately and ask them to attend this meeting. They do not have to have students attending East Aurora High School. Anyone who is willing to make a statement should call Clayton Muhammad (630 299-5550)by Nov. 22 to ask to be placed on the agenda

If you have further questions, please contact either IFI or Aurora Pastor Patrick McManus at (630) 966-0724. 

Two questions for the ad hoc committee 

Those who support this type of policy must answer these two critical questions: 

  • If gender-confused teens should not have to share restrooms and locker rooms with those whose “gender identity” they don’t share, then why should other teens have to share restrooms and locker rooms with those whose objective biological sex they don’t share? 
  • If there are two distinct phenomenon, biological sex (constituted by objective DNA/anatomy) and “gender identity” (constituted by subjective feelings), why should locker rooms and restrooms be separated according to “gender identity” rather than objective biological sex? What justification is there for subordinating objective biological sex to “gender identity”? 

Thoughts about claims made by supporters of “transgender” school policy 

  • Those who promote this type of policy believe that the subjective feelings of teens who wish they had been born the opposite sex trump objective biological and anatomical reality. They believe that what gender-confused teens feel is their true sex is, indeed, their true sex. They also believe that everyone in society must accept their unproven belief that “gender identity” is more objectively real and more important than is objective biological and anatomical reality. But society has no obligation and should feel no compulsion to accept these propositions as true. They are not facts. 
  • This policy would inappropriately mandate that teachers use pronouns that correspond to a student’s “gender identity” as opposed to his or her objective biological sex. The reason teachers should not be compelled to use pronouns that don’t correspond to a student’s biological sex is that requiring them to do so means requiring them to participate in a fiction. Students who suffer from gender dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder (as opposed to intersex conditions) have an objective biological sex. No student, teacher, or administrator should be compelled to treat objective reality as if it doesn’t exist. The government has no ethical right to compel people to participate in a lie. 
  • The fact that boys or girls don’t choose to experience gender confusion does not mean that such feelings are normal or good. And it certainly does not mean that society must affirm their feelings or accommodate every behavior that such feelings impel. There is another psychological disorder analogous to gender dysphoria called Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) in which sufferers identify with amputees and seek to have their bodies correspond to their self-conception through elective amputation of healthy body parts. To be intellectually consistent, would supporters of this gender-confusion policy argue that schools should accommodate the desire of anatomically whole students to use a wheel chair and the elevators intended for disabled students? 
  • Boys should leave a bathroom if a girl enters, and girls should leave a bathroom if a boy enters. How will that make a gender-confused student feel? 
  • Supporters of this policy argue that the majority should not be allowed to deny the rights of the minority, but that statement presumes that gender-confused students have a right to use the restrooms and locker rooms designated for those of the opposite sex. And it ignores the rights of those who don’t want to be compelled to use facilities intended for private acts in the presence of those of the opposite sex. Boys have no right to use girls’ restrooms, and girls have no right to use boys’ restrooms. And no one has a moral right to compel others to lie. 
  • Supporters of this policy argue that it’s needed in order to be “inclusive” of gender-confused students. To be intellectually consistent then, wouldn’t supporters of the policy have to agree that those who are not comfortable sharing a bathroom with someone of the opposite sex because of their beliefs about sexual differentiation, modesty, and privacy would be “excluded” if the school refuses to honor their beliefs, feelings, values, and identity—which, by the way, has a basis in objective reality? 

Symbolic and teaching effect of school policy

In this entire mess, no one has talked about the symbolic and teaching effect of school policy. Many community members who do not like this policy will dismiss it as relatively unimportant because so few students suffer from gender confusion. But if it’s unimportant, why does the Left care so much about it? They care about it in part because of its symbolic effect. The Left knows that passing this policy necessarily means that the school has formally embraced the Left’s unproven, non-factual beliefs about sex and gender. 

In addition, the Left knows that such a policy teaches. 

  • If this policy were to be restored, the proper, healthy, and normal feelings and beliefs of students who do not feel comfortable sharing locker room and restroom facilities with those of the opposite sex would be ignored. Boys, who should leave a bathroom if a girl enters, and girls, who should leave a bathroom if a boy enters, would be taught either implicitly or explicitly that those natural and good feelings are wrong. They would be taught that their natural and good feelings of modesty are exclusionary, lacking in compassion, ignorant, and biased. 
  • Such a policy would teach students that in order to be kind, compassionate, and inclusive of those who experience gender confusion, they have to affirm those troubled peers’ impulses and ideas. In reality, neither love nor inclusivity requires affirmation and accommodation of every feeling, impulse, belief, or behavioral choice of every student in a school. Real love as well as commitments to morality, objective reality, and public order put limits on what schools can and should affirm and accommodate. And real love depends first on knowing what is true. 
  • Such a policy would teach students that gender is not determined by DNA and manifest in biology and anatomy, but that it is determined by subjective feelings. This, however, is not a fact, and neither schools nor the community has any obligation to accept the theory that “gender” has no connection to DNA and anatomy. 
  • Such a policy teaches students that cross-dressing (as well as hormone-doping and elective amputations of healthy body parts) is morally acceptable and good. 

Make no mistake, this is a critical battle. If this policy passes, it will make national news, and the homosexual and “transgender” advocacy groups will use it to force other schools to pass similar policy. As I have said many times, cultural change rarely happens through dramatic single events. It happens through the slow accretion of small events that we ignore or dismiss as trivial or irrelevant. This has the potential to be a hugely consequential battle. 

*Sample School Bullying Policy 

A school bullying policy could say the following, which is taken verbatim from the bullying law: 

No student shall be subjected to bullying. 

Bullying means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student that has or can be predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: 

  1. placing a student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
  2. causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
  3. substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
  4. substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. 

Bullying may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. 

Such a policy would pass legal muster, be much more clearly inclusive, and steer clear of partisan politicization.

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years...
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