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Maryland schools have adopted progressive policies that allow transgenders and any other students who feel uncomfortable to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
The new rules comes after students began pushing the state to change in February, according to the Washington Post. Previous policy required students to use bathrooms and changing rooms according to their birth sex. The new policy, however, rollbacks privacy concerns and places greater importance on identity concerns like preferred names, dress codes, and sports participation according to gender identity.
“I see it as one of the most comprehensive transgender student policies in the country,” GLSENMaryland executive director, Jabari Lyles, told WaPo on Sunday. “It’s brought a peace of mind to our students that they will be treated more fairly and equitably, and has also brought about more training for staff,” Frederick County Teachers Association president, Melissa Dirks, added, expressing her support of the changes.
Before the policy changes, there were no policies or procedures on how to handle gender identity issues in Maryland’s schools, transgender student Maxx Frazier told WaPo. The changes reflect both changing politics and an effort by students to make their demands heard.
“We look forward to defending our policy, which we think is inclusive and respects everyone’s rights,” said attorney Donny English in a statement following the policy change announcement. He indicated that Frederick school officials will be responding in court to complaints about the new policy in the coming months.
“Will there be a policy protecting the band geek, the math nerd and the other children who have felt unwelcome and bullied for decades? Will they get a similar carve-out?” Cindy Rose, Republican Women of Frederick County spokesperson said in a statement Sunday, noting that the policy seems to unfairly focus on the rights of this select group of students.
Gallup polling data from 2017 shows significant polarization between liberals and conservatives over transgender bathroom issues. (Related: New Polling Shows Major Split In Transgender Bathroom Policy Support Between Liberals, Conservatives).