Colo. School Board Member: Transgender Students Need ‘Castration’ Before Using Bathrooms

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A Colorado school board member is facing criticism after she said that transgender students would need to be castrated before the student could use the school bathrooms that fit their gender identity.

KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colo. was the first to report on Delta County School Board member Katherine Svenson's comments about transgender students during an October meeting (Listen to audio of Svenson's comments above):

"I would like to pass out something that shows people what is going on in the rest of the country," Svenson said at the school board meeting. "Massachusetts and California have passed laws relating to calling a student, irrespective of his biological gender, letting him perform as the gender he thinks he is, or she is. I just want to emphasize: not in this district. Not until the plumbing's changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here."

Svenson refers to a groundbreaking bill recently signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown that allows transgender youth to use whatever bathroom and participate in whichever sports team they believe matches their gender identity.

Written By: Matt Ferner
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.com

26 COMMENTS

  1. I do wish we could be a bit more nuanced in our reaction to stories like this one.

    I’m not defending what this woman said (reading between the lines and looking at one of the comments, she has a religious agenda), but she was not saying (on this evidence) that she wished the Colorado school board to castrate transgender people (or anyone else). What she is saying is that she is against boy to girl transgender students using the girls toilets. She knows perfectly well that castration is actually against the law. She is simply setting down her marker that she is against this policy and until castration by school boards becomes legal (ie never), she will be against self-diagnosed transgender boys to girls using the girls toilets (ie for ever).

    I appreciate, it’s dangerous to say things like this in public, but if everything everyone says has to go through the political correctness / offense censor, then that is a dangerous step towards a curtailment of free speech and towards crimestop or crimethink. If every word I spoke was taken literally, I’d be in a lot of trouble.

    The problem is that if she has to resign over this, she and her supporters will go off in a huff and we will be blamed for political correctness. It will be far better to get her removed for something she has actually done or really believes than to get her dismissed for just putting her foot in her mouth.

    • In reply to #7 by GPWC:

      I do wish we could be a bit more nuanced in our reaction to stories like this one.

      I think you got a point here. The woman clearly did not mean that transgender youth should have a knife taken to their genitals. Since she is one of the many, many, oh so many who simply don’t even understand what transgender people are she does not want “boys” to use the girls toilet. That’s of course antiquated and idiotic nonsense, but it’s not incitement to violence. However, the choice of words is rather revealing. It betrays a lot of suppressed anger and violent feelings, very common amongst people frightened by what they don’t understand.

      • In reply to #10 by foundationist:

        However, the choice of words is rather revealing. It betrays a lot of suppressed anger and violent feelings, very common amongst people frightened by what they don’t understand.

        Yes, very well put. I was trying to find a quick way to say this but my post was getting lengthy, so I left it out. But I agree 100%.

    • In reply to #7 by GPWC:
      1. “I do wish we could be a bit more nuanced in our reaction to stories like this one.”
      2. “I appreciate, it’s dangerous to say things like this in public, but if everything everyone says has to go through the political correctness / offense censor, then that is a dangerous step towards a curtailment of free speech”
      3. Hmmmmm …

      I wish we could be a bit more nuanced in our reaction to stories like this one.
      >

      I’m not defending what this woman said (reading between the lines and looking at one of the comments, she has a religious agenda), but she was not saying (on this evidence) that she wished the Colorado school board t…

      • In reply to #23 by Free Speech:

        In reply to #7 by GPWC:
        1. “I do wish we could be a bit more nuanced in our reaction to stories like this one.”
        2. “I appreciate, it’s dangerous to say things like this in public, but if everything everyone says has to go through the political correctness / offense censor, that is a dangerous step towards a curtailment of free speech” 3. Hmmmmm …

        Are you feeling under threat?

  2. It is undoubtedly scary that a woman with these views could be on any school board, you would never want this woman’s views to carry any weight in discussions on children’s welfare.

  3. I wouldn’t want a man who’s transgender or not sharing the toilets with my daughter, But little miss blue rinse need’s to think before she talks about students bring subjected to genital mutilation she obviously has a bee on her bonnet about ppl who are transgender,her bitter little homophobic rant should just be seen as that.

    • Do all of your male and female family members use the same toilet in your house? If you were a guest in someone else’s house would you ask who had used the toilet before you and then decide whether you would use it or not??? It is a toilet. It is not like you are being asked to use it SIMULTANEOUSLY.

      I think the issue here is the part of the bathroom with the sinks and the mirrors, not the stalls that are private and enclosed. So, the problem is that a transgender person would wash their hands in the same sink and look into the same mirror?

      Are ladies rooms rampant areas of nudity and constant situations that are compromising? Men’s rooms have urinals that are more or less communal, but ladies rooms????

      C’mon, I think you need to think this one through.

      In reply to #13 by Dublin-atheist:

      I wouldn’t want a man who’s transgender or not sharing the toilets with my daughter, But little miss blue rinse need’s to think before she talks about students bring subjected to genital mutilation she obviously has a bee on her bonnet about ppl who are transgender,her bitter little homophobic rant…

  4. The only real solution would be to have a bathroom that is unisex for one person similar to those you might find in some US restaurants.

    Personally, I think the woman had a poor choice of words and I get her concern over allowing individuals “able to impregnate” in a woman’s bathroom. Smart ass males of which high schools are plentiful will use this as an excuse to enter the girls’ room. She may be wrong about the transgender individuals, but I get a feeling her concern for the safety of females is her highest concern.

    • In reply to #14 by QuestioningKat:

      Smart ass males of which high schools are plentiful will use this as an excuse to enter the girls’ room.

      You really think that male high school students, in particular the ones that would try such a low trick just to peep on half-naked girls, would be willing to publicly state being transsexual? Think again!

      Anyone willing to face the harassment and bullying that such an outing means for students is clearly pretty serious about it, and deserves to be taken serious and to be protected.

  5. She looks like she is my age. I don’t mean to be overly sensitive, but can we please keep in mind that some of the members of this forum are “little old ladies?” Yup I grew up in the backwoods of the mid west in a country full of religious nuts, yet here I sit on my atheist ass typing on my laptop to fellow atheists. I hate to think I’m rare!

    Her age is no excuse for not being informed on the issues of transgendered students. There is lots of information just a keystroke away, but she spoke (in her official capacity) from fear and ignorance and she should be held accountable.

  6. The homophobia runs strong in that one!

    While it is clear to me that most of her opinions are based on fear of homosexuality laced with the typical religiosity prevalent in red states like Colorado, I also must agree with some of the counterpoints made here by GPWC and a few others. It is a very valid point that was made about straight boys pretending to be trans gender to get a peep in the girls bathroom/locker room. I hate to admit it but she does bring up some valid points (for the wrong reasons). Additionally, the other people concerned such as young ladies feeling very uncomfortable with a biological male in the room and conversely, guys feeling a tad awkward undressing in a locker room with a biological female in the room. I think all perspectives need to be considered and for better or worse, I don’t think our society as a whole has evolved to this point; hopefully it will.

  7. Things happen between boys and girls in bathrooms now and have for every since MY parents were in school. I really couldn’t bring their parents into it because there weren’t but one outhouse at the school anyhoo. Every bad thing she thinks may happen already does, a sign doesn’t discourage lust or violence so giving a few students a much needed dose of human compassion seems like a no-brainer to me.

  8. There is quite a lot of ignorance around.

    Firstly, someone who identifies as trans and has a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, may already be on medication which has the effect of producing chemical castration. Most male to female transsexuals are already sterile before reaching the operating table – and upon orgasm either emit no liquid at all, or a transparent mucous containing nothing more than a handful of non-motile sperm cells (unlike fertile men who produce thousands of sperm cells with every ejaculate). A male to female transsexual under hormone and anti-androgen therapy will likely have a very low sex drive, lower than men and lower than most woman of similar age. (speaking as a trans woman)

    So this physical castration thing is a red herring. In addition, to castrate a male to female trans woman in advance of surgery is problematic – because scrotal tissue will atrophy, making the scope for full sex reassignment surgery more limited.. if there is less tissue to work with, it’s harder to form a neovagina/vaginoplasty.

    The school policy refers to students who “self identify” as transgender, and that’s fine. It is important to emphasize though, students who feel discomfort with their gender and/or know they are in the wrong sex, ought to be able to access a framework of support (counselling/specialists) – one that is inclusive and affirming. This should help the student on his/her path, and help reassure other students or employees in intimate environments such as schools and workplaces where people know eachother – as opposed to say public lavatories.

    Transgender people are not eunuchs, it’s a matter of identity, not simply social symbolism. Crude castration may satisfy ignorant appetites, but impair the scope for a male to female trans woman to reach a greater sense of physical and personal congruence in the longer term, by limiting surgical options – with consequent damage to mental health and functioning. So this has to be patient led, the trans person will know what they are comfortable with. Some trans individuals actually elect for orchidectomy (surgical castration) themselves, for a variety of medical or other reasons, and that’s fine. But it is not for a school board to impose that, it’s for transgender person to work through, with the help of a positive network of support.

    It’s not an easy journey, and sometimes one can lose the path a bit. I understand wider communities may acquire a desire for reassurance. A lot of the problem is down to ignorance prejudice and lack of honest open dialogue.

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