ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Students at a public high school in Missouri walked out of class Monday in protest of a male student who is being allowed to use the girls’ locker and restrooms.
According to reports, approximately 150 students at Hillsboro High School spent two hours expressing concerns over the permissions granted to a 17-year-old senior who identifies as “Lila Perry.” Perry, born a male, says that he began having female inclinations at age 13. He had been living as a homosexual male up until last year, when he donned a wig and female clothing.
School officials recently gave Perry permission to use the girls’ restroom as he had heretofore been using a faculty unisex restroom. He also had utilized the girls’ locker room for gym class, but dropped out of physical education when it upset some of the girls who had to change their clothing with Perry present.
“I wasn’t hurting anyone and I didn’t want to feel segregated out,” he told local television station KMOV. “I didn’t want to be in the gender-neutral bathroom. I am a girl. I shouldn’t be pushed off to another bathroom.”
Last week, a school board meeting that included discussion about Perry had to be moved to a larger location to accommodate the many parents who came to express their opinion abut the issue.
“The girls have rights, and they shouldn’t have to share a bathroom with a boy,” parent Tammy Sorden told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Attorney Derrick Good, who has two daughters attending Hillsboro High School, has been working with the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to craft a district policy that would require students and faculty to use the restroom that correlates with their birth gender.
“They should have the ability to do whatever they need to do in the privacy of the bathroom without having a male in there,” Good told local television station KTVI. “They have a right to their own bodily privacy, and I’ve raised my girls, and many of these parents have raised their girls, to protect that privacy. They don’t share that with members of the opposite sex.”
Perry told reporters that he thinks the concerns are unfounded.
“I’m not going to hurt their daughters,” he said. “I’m not going to expose myself. I’m not a pervert. I’m a transgender woman. I’m a girl. I’m just in there to change, do my business, and that if they have any questions about being transgender, they are more than welcome to talk to me, and I’ll be happy to explain it.”
Following the meeting on Thursday, approximately 150 students walked out of class on Monday until they were told to go back inside two hours later. Most were opposed to Perry’s use of female facilities, but an estimated 30-40 additional students held a counter-protest in support.
“Putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me,” student Sophie Beel told Fox2.
“There’s a lot of ignorance, [and] they are claiming that they’re uncomfortable. I don’t believe for a second that they are. I think this is pure and simple bigotry,” Perry said.
District officials are not discussing the matter with the media at this time, but have released a statement outlining that it “respects the rights of all students and appreciates the fact that the students we are educating are willing to stand on their belief system and to support their cause/beliefs through their expression of free speech.”
The statement also outlines that it “will promote tolerance and acceptance of all students that attend our district while not tolerating bullying/harassing behaviors of any type in any form.”