A local Portland, ME television station is reporting that the Maine Human Rights Commission is once again looking at the issue of transgender students' rights in schools.
The issue first came to light in Orono in June of last year, when a biologically male student who identifies as a female was denied access to the girls' bathroom. The Commission ruled that the student was discriminated against under the Maine Human Rights Act. Now the Commission has drafted guidance to help educators deal with the issue in the future.
Maine Principals' Association Executive Director Dick Durost has spent the past week catching as much high school tournament action as he can. Athletics are one of the major concerns he has, when it comes to the proposed guidance from the Maine Human Rights Commission. The draft states that transgender students should have access to bathrooms appropriate for their gender identity, not their biological gender. In addition, transgender students should be provided with locker room accomodations that meet their needs, and allowed to play on the sports teams of their gender identity.
"One would be a biological female presenting as a male and situations where we would have safety concerns in male bathrooms and locker rooms," Durost said about his concerns. "The second issue would be biological males presenting as females wishing to compete on girls athletic teams, and the impact on the level of competition. "The typical high school biological male is bigger, stronger, faster, and we believe there could be an adverse affect on girls on the teams."
Maine Human Rights Commission Executive Director Patricia Ryan says the Maine Human Rights Commission issues this type of guidance to help people understand how it might rule on a case.
"The Commission thought it would be beneficial to issue a guidance bulletin as opposed to regulations, so that people could be aware as to how the commission was thinking about this area" Ryan said