Straight From the Source: Palatine mom at forefront of transgender debate

  • Vicki Wilson is a Palatine mom and a spokeswoman for the group involved in the dispute over transgender bathroom and locker room access.

    Vicki Wilson is a Palatine mom and a spokeswoman for the group involved in the dispute over transgender bathroom and locker room access.

 
By Vicki Wilson
Special to the Daily Herald
Updated 4/10/2017 9:13 AM
Editor’s note: Vicki Wilson is a mother of two from Palatine and spokeswoman for Parents for Privacy, a group that advocates for an objective policy solution that respects privacy for all children in our area schools.

I came across a flier recently -- from a partisan group soliciting votes for last week's school board election -- that states: "Hate has no place in education."

Words matter. "Hate" is a word I've cautioned my children against using lightly. It's a word that does damage that is difficult or impossible to undo. Yet I'm seeing the word more and more frequently, and I'm extremely concerned with how that is impacting the children of our community.

 

Those distributing these types of fliers are clearly trying to impugn those of us who have stood up for privacy for all children. But don't they realize they're hurting the very children they claim to be helping?

When adults in our community tell children that other adults hate them -- an outrageous, heartbreaking lie -- don't they realize the damage this does to the child? I realize they are upset, but how can that justify telling devastating lies that hurt their own children?

Why not tell the truth instead: that sometimes adults disagree on policy issues, that one person's requests must be weighed against the needs of others, but that doesn't mean people who disagree don't care about you and your struggle. Wouldn't teaching children these truths be better -- not only because they are true, but because truth will do so much less damage than the lies?

What happens in our schools matters to everyone in our community, whether you have a child currently attending or not. If the next generation is being taught that "disagreement equals hate," where will that leave us? Unable to discuss or debate anything. We're already so close to that in our culture, and now kids are being taught it's the norm. Doesn't that scare you? To live peacefully with each other in our diverse society requires that we respect each other's differences and work toward solutions that keep everyone safe -- including emotionally safe.

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Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If that were happening in our schools, we could call it a day. But it's not. We have folks who believe one child's discomfort in a locker room due to gender identity is understandable and reasonable but don't believe that another child's discomfort in a locker room due to biological sex is understandable and reasonable. And they think it's reasonable to discount the feelings of fragile children who are fighting different battles.

The "empathy" they speak of is a one-way street, so it is not empathy at all. We have true empathy for kids struggling with gender identity but there is no compassion from their side for fragile children fighting other battles, such as a past that included sexual abuse. They won't even acknowledge there is any possible harm whatsoever to other fragile children.

Among the most fragile are those who've suffered sexual abuse. Statistics show one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18, and much of this abuse has taken place in bathrooms and locker rooms.

These who have suffered such horrible abuse are particularly sensitive about being in proximity to children of the opposite sex in vulnerable environments. Even with no threat of physical harm, emotional harm comes in the form of flashbacks, PTSD and psychological distress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Children who feel caught between two locker rooms need to be protected, as do others who request additional privacy for any reason. They need a safe place where their needs are respected. What child wouldn't prefer a private space at school like they have at home? That is extra protection, not less.

Retaining sex-specific areas while providing a third option is our stance and protects all children equally. To live in society, we must be able to compromise. One side cannot demand my way or else you will pay dearly. That's not fair to the kids of our community. Our stance is the compromise. Demanding no sex-specific areas or demanding no third options are the extreme positions.

Those of us defending the privacy of all children did not go looking for this battle. The ACLU came to town in 2015, exerted its power and influence through two federal agencies, and forced its will upon our unsuspecting community -- with a stunning threat to take away $6 million in funds designated for low-income and special education students. Who could support threatening to take away funding from children with special needs? Why would any candidate accept support from those who did just that? Our district superintendent even went on national TV to defend holding the line on the locker rooms. Even he knew it was unreasonable.

Multiple solutions and accommodations were offered and rejected. Compassion and compromise meant nothing. With vulnerable children in their line of fire, ACLU attorneys would stop at nothing. Vulnerable girls were being ignored by school administrators. Officials were picking favorites rather than protecting everyone equally. And we realized: something was very wrong in our schools.

The ACLU and others say this is all new … times have changed … "you don't want to be on the wrong side of history." But this is not new. There have always been children who struggle with gender identity. What is new is how adults are reacting.

I've personally heard from people who grew up wanting to be the opposite sex for years, but found those feelings eventually went away as they reached adulthood. They say they're grateful they didn't grow up today, when they likely would have been prescribed hormones and encouraged to transition. They cannot imagine how miserable they'd be if they had succumbed to those pressures.

They're not alone. According to the DSM-V, a significant percentage of gender dysphoric boys and gender dysphoric girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.

This social experiment is only 10 years old … and we're already seeing the fallout. And there are consequences we won't know for years. Children who use puberty blockers will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence -- a combination that has health risks, even including sterility according to several medical associations, while others in the medical field dispute the sterility claim. Time will tell.

What compassionate person would condemn children whose brains are still forming to this fate, knowing that -- after puberty -- significant numbers will accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health?

I've heard from some of these people, too -- who did transition and now are suicidal, knowing they cannot repair the damage to their bodies.

And yet our school went so far as to hire a gender consultant to teach our teachers, parents and students that gender is fluid and the choices nearly infinite. "You may feel one gender one week, another in three weeks." Someone asked how many genders there are. We were told, with a straight face, "up to 900."

This issue isn't about children being born male but feeling female (and vice versa). This is about the 900 gender theory/social experiment. Parents for Privacy approached District 211 administrators before these education sessions, asking for a balanced viewpoint approach. We were quickly told no. Our tax dollars are paying for highly biased information, with dangerous implications for children, to be presented as fact -- with no opposing viewpoint allowed. This violates D211's own policy, yet when this is brought to their attention, they dismiss it.

Requiring a balanced approach, protecting privacy for all, eliminating hateful language and being truthful with children … these things are critical for them now and into the future. The emotional safety, dignity and well-being of every child matters.

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