See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Transgender policy issues go unsolved as Michigan Board of Education delays vote

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 11:18 AM


The Michigan Board of Education has announced last Friday that they will not vote of transgenders policies next month, as planned. The board felt they needed more time to discuss privacy issues among students and educational staff.

“I hope we will bring it forward in September, but we want to get it right. We want to provide clarity on what districts can do to create a safe learning environment for all kids, certainly LGBTQ kids, but also what their expectations are from the federal government,” President John Austin of the board told the Detroit News.

The first draft initiated in March caused a stir, gaining over 13,000 public comments online where a huge debate was located over the new transgender policies. The Board of Education later revised the draft by putting more emphasis on parental involvement and also gave more privacy to the student and the school staff when engaging student’s gender identity issues with parents. The revised draft states, “Privacy considerations may vary with the age of the students.”

Currently, the draft of the state guidance memo, is leaning towards allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker areas based on how a student identify themselves. The proposal also accommodated to the non-transgender students who would feel uncomfortable with transgenders and would allow additional privacy by  creating a changing schedule (changing clothes), or using curtains and one-stall restrooms.

click to enlarge lll.jpg

“There’s still a lot to digest and look at and be attentive to. Board members have not really had the chance to share questions, ask for more clarification and go back to work with staff and stakeholders to get this exactly right,” says Austin.

The Michigan Board of Education is trying to stop discrimination against transgender people and rather allow them to be treated with the same amount of respect as others would be. Julisa Abad, a transgender woman who has experienced discrimination, told MT, "There are no opportunities. Unless you have a supportive family that understands from the beginning and you're covered with medical insurance, this is it. As a minority and being in poverty, I have not met a trans woman who has been that privileged. It's either do sex work, because we're looked at as sexual objects, be homeless, or be dead."

Michigan is not the only state dealing with this dilemma but over time the conflict of transgender people using bathrooms matching their chosen-identity has made national news. The Obama administration asked several schools to be careful with the treatment of transgender people because claims of discrimination could jeopardize their federal funding. Meanwhile, both Michigan and the national government are creating more inclusive bathroom policies. The nation has been looking at this dilemma thoroughly and a concrete proposal may take a little longer than expected.

Click here for more info 

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 28, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit