D11 Board Members consider a transphobic policy


Anja Schneider

Students protest outside the District 11 administration building of Feb. 27.

Ari Clark, Senior Reporter

On Feb. 8, the district 11 school board vice president, Jason Jorgenson, proposed a rule that all teachers would be banned from asking students their preferred pronouns. This would require any students to inform the teachers of their preferred pronouns and names on their own.

Since many students are against this, a protest was held on Feb. 27 outside the administration building. Students from both Manitou Springs High School and District 11 attended bearing pride flags and signs with slogans such as “Do better D11”, “Honk if you have pronouns”, “Fire Loma” and “Respecting pronouns is suicide prevention.”

Reverend Al Loma, a D11 board member, is one of the main supporters of this ban. In an interview with KRDO he stated he is “offended” when trans people request their preferred pronouns. He also referred to himself as “old fashioned”. “I know a boy when I see one, and I know a girl when I see one,” Loma said. Not only is this horribly offensive, but it is also a clear sign of bias within the school board. When a person of religious importance is also making critical decisions for a district their ideas, votes and beliefs are heavily influenced by their faith. 

One of the only board members that seems to side with the students and their rights is Julie Ott. She insists that it is important for student’s voices to be heard and for teachers to continue honoring their preferences. 

This issue of blatant ignorance and transphobia spreads further than just our school systems. A bill was recently passed in Mississippi that bans transgender minors from getting hormone therapy and forces them to de-transition, a similar bill was passed in Tennessee. Texas lawmakers are considering banning transgender college athletes from joining teams that correspond with their gender identity. A bill in Florida is being considered that would allow children to be taken from their transgender parents. Last year Alabama lawmakers ruled that providing gender affirming care is a felony, they also passed a bill preventing k-12 students from using school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

 The Trevor Project, a trans rights organization, sent out a national survey last year. The results showed that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in that year and LGBTQ youth who found their school to be LGBTQ-affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide. As a queer person with many LGBTQ+ friends this saddens and worries me. It genuinely makes me sick to see how little legislators care about the rights and lives of queer minors. These bills are not protecting, they are not for the greater good. They are a matter of queerphobia that has reached such a level that it is harmful. It is no longer about a difference in opinion or beliefs. It has become a complete disregard for anyone or anything that is unfamiliar. 

Manitou students have already begun to protest. Some attended the walkout while others spread online petitions. In the unlikely event that MSHS, Manitou Springs School District or Colorado as a whole adopts similar policies the students would not go quietly. However, there are still states that heavily oppose these bills. There are many online resources as well as “safe states” for minors in areas that have put these policies in place.