Maui transgender student triggers community discussion on trans rights
A transgender athlete at Kamehameha Schools Maui switched from the boys to the girls volleyball team because she now identifies as a female.
The school acknowledged the change but some parents tell KITV4 they still aren't comfortable.
An anonymous parent says he feels uncomfortable his daughters at Kamehameha Schools Maui have to share a locker room with a biological boy, even if that boy now identifies as a girl.
The school says the student has permission to be there. Administrators says they'll continue to support transgender students across campuses in hopes for a competitive season for all.
Transgender advocates say people should be who they want to be without judgement. Gia Gunn, a well known international transgender performer and trans-rights activist, was in Hawaii at the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival to screen her documentary about her transition. We caught up with her there for her reaction to this story. She reminds people, "There's not just one way of being human. There's not just one way of being a man and there's definitely not just one way of being a woman."
Joshua Wisch, the executive direction of ACLU Hawaii (https://acluhi.org/), a civil rights group, says, "These are people who are in our schools, they're in our communities, they belong, they should be proud of who they are and they should be able to participate, just like everybody else."
Schools have developed policies to protect trans students. Other advocates say that's a good step in the right direction, but there's still more work to do.
Dean Hamer, who is on the board of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation (hglcf.org), suggests schools should "not just have a rule that says you're not supposed to bully people but to show kids and teachers and administrators what a positive affirming atmosphere looks like."
Hamer, who spoke as an individual and not an HGLCF board member, says if students feel uncomfortable, they should change at the nurse's office or in a separate room. "Accommodations should be made for them too because everyone should feel comfortable."
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association established a transgender policy in October 2017. It plans to start tracking the number of trans athletes in their member schools this school year.
The organization tells KITV4 transgender students can play sports in the gender identity they're comfortable with. Part of its policy reads, "The HHSAA believes that athletic participation is valuable to students' physical, intellectual, social, and character development and accordingly, we value inclusion."