A Mukwonago mother on her trans daughter's safety at school
Jane Doe #2, a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging the Mukwonago Area School District over its bathroom access practices, describes trying to protect and advocate for her 11-year-old daughter.
By Marisa Wojcik | Here & Now
July 18, 2023 • Southeast Region
Do you worry about her safety?
Jane Doe #2:
All the time. All the time. People have said horrendous things about myself and my partner and who we are as parents. You know, there are people out there that have said we're child abusers and that we're pedophiles. Like, there's people that are threatening to call the police to try to get my children taken from me. Like that is a terrifying thing to deal with. But then I have people that, you know, kids... Kids don't hate. Kids are taught hate. And so there is a big group of kids at school that were friends with her and played with her that have disappeared. They don't talk to her anymore. They don't play with her anymore. And you know that that's their parents' rhetoric coming through, because they didn't care about who she was before. But now they do? Like, that doesn't make sense to me. And, you know, she had to deal with being bullied and being harassed and kids calling her by, you know, a name that's not her name, kids calling her a boy, kids that are telling her she's a freak and that she doesn't belong at their school. Like this is just cruel. And I'm nervous for her and I'm scared for her, because what happens when there's a bigger kid whose parents have taught him that she doesn't belong? What's gonna happen to her? You know, people are saying, "Oh, well we're gonna have to pull our kids out of this school if she can continue to use the bathroom."
When the district's response says, "We're concerned about the safety of all students," and kind of a very generic message that talks about the safety of all students. What does that make you say?
Jane Doe #2:
When I read that they're working diligently to protect the safety and privacy of all students, unless you're trans, unless you're non-binary, as long as you fit in their box, it's acceptable. And that crosses my mind every time I read that or anytime I hear something where they're talking about it and they're like, you know, "the safety of all students," except for my student. None of this has protected her at all. The amount of bullying and harassment has skyrocketed for her. Something that was non-existent before is now an absolute thing for her. It's almost guaranteed that daily this is gonna happen to her. And like, how is that protecting her privacy? How is this protecting her safety?
What do you think people are afraid of?
Jane Doe #2:
The unknown. They're afraid of the fact that they don't understand my child. They're afraid of that it. It has nothing to do with anything more than they're afraid of that. They don't understand it. And because it's unknown and because they don't have answers for things, it's frightening. In the previous district that school is so LGBTQ+ safe right now. And it's wonderful. I'm so happy that I was part of that. I'm so happy that I've been able to help a district forge a policy that truly is taking care of the safety and privacy of all students. And that is beautiful. I think if the adults here had worried less about what's in my child's pants and about whether or not she could just go to the bathroom, we wouldn't even be here. This wouldn't even be a discussion we're having. But there was a parent somewhere that just had to know and that parent pitched a fit and that parent pitched a fit to their friends and all of those friends pitched a fit. And you know, nobody asked the right questions. Nobody asked about what a transgender kid is. Nobody asked what this looks like. Nobody did the research. Everybody just started complaining. "There's different parts and those parts are gonna be in the bathroom. And my daughter's in danger." What about my daughter? My daughter's in danger. You're endangering my child every time you try to force her into a different bathroom because you're singling her out, you're telling everybody she's different. And that puts a target on her back.
How do you feel about moving forward in this new landscape?
Jane Doe #2:
I'm not going anywhere. This is my home. And we're in a unfortunate situation with her school district, but this is her school district. And if I can help teach in this district inclusivity and if I can help them come up with an inclusive policy, then that'd be amazing. But I'm not gonna leave because they're uncomfortable with my child being here, and they're going to have to figure out, to me anyway, I feel like they have to figure out how to be inclusive, because there is kids like her all over this district. There is kids like her all over this state, and when they say that they're doing everything they can to create privacy and protection and safety for all students, I'm gonna hold them to that. They're gonna do it for all students.