Lila Perry, 17, just wants to be able to use the school bathrooms. But other girls at her school are protesting that she shouldn't be allowed...
Here’s a totally-made-up-but-probably-accurate statistic: for 99.9% of people, high school is hard.
From who to sit with in class, to whether or not anybody will invite you to join them at lunchtime, to why those guys are laughing and pointing at you when you walk into the common room, to how to get through the day without bursting into tears and curling up into a small ball shape in the toilets, it’s relentless, it’s mean, and it’s totally confusing.
So imagine what it must be like for 17-year-old Lila Perry, who not only has to deal with all of the above, but who isn’t even allowed into the toilets to cry afterwards. Or to pee, for that matter.
Lila started identifying publicly as female in February, but has known that she was transgender since she was about 13. But while Hilsboro High School, initially supported her through her transition, many of the other pupils haven’t – and have even staged a full-scale protest about letting her into the girls’ toilets.
‘I find it offensive because Lila has not went through any procedure to become female, putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me,’ one student, Sophie Beel told reporters.
And it gets worse. Not only have 150 students walked out of school in objection to Lila using the toilet facilities, but they’re being supported by hundreds of parents and many more members of the community. And while her fellow pupils should be offered support if they’re struggling to adapt to Lila’s transition, the current situation is leaving the 17-year-old unable to take PE classes, and forced to spend her days in the guidance counsellor’s office until the furore dies down. Which doesn’t seem fair.
‘I feel these girls have a right to their own privacy. Without the privacy they have nothing,’ said Jeff Childs, a father who has been participating in the protests on behalf of his children. ‘Boys needs to have their own locker room. Girls need to have their own locker room and if somebody has mixed feelings where they are, they need to have their own also.’
‘I think this is pure and simple bigotry,’ Lila explains. ‘I think they are using their claim they are uncomfortable, to target me a transgender woman. It wasn’t too long ago white people were saying “I don’t feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with a black person” and history repeats itself.
‘I’m hoping this dies down,’ she adds. ‘I don’t want my entire senior year to be like this.’