DENVER (AP) — A Colorado school board member who said she has no regrets about saying transgender students should use locker rooms that conform with their biological sex has vowed to keep pushing for schools to ignore court rulings on the transgender issue.
Delta School District 50J school board member Kathy Svenson told The Associated Press on Friday that transgender boys would pose a serious safety risk to girls in girls locker rooms, and allowing transgender girls into a boys locker room would raise privacy issues.
Svenson, 73, is in the second year of her four-year term but said she won't run for re-election because she would like to start her own school where she could set her own rules regarding transgender and homosexual students.
Svenson said she doesn't believe there is such a thing as people who are transgender, the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/pklxoqw) reported. Svenson said they are simply confused.
Svenson said she was flooded with criticism from activists about her comment, even though no transgender students have asked to use the girls locker room at the school located about 30 miles southeast of Grand Junction.
In Colorado, transgender people are allowed by law to access public or workplace restrooms designated for the gender that matches their identity. That policy was affirmed in June, when the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that a 6-year-old transgender girl, who was born male, could use the facilities for girls in her Fountain school.
Svenson said she was talking about the use of school locker rooms, but the law applies to all public spaces that are gender specific, including locker rooms, said Krista Whipple, president of the Gender Identity Center of Colorado.
Whipple said she understands some people are uncomfortable with that idea. She said Svenson's comments reflect society's attachment to defining identity based on anatomy.
"Anatomy doesn't define us as a person, who we are on the inside defines who we are," Whipple said.
During a public meeting in Delta in October, in response to questions about school policy, Svenson said, "there would have to be castration to pass something like this around here." She told the AP on Friday that she was only trying to make a point in an effort to warn the school board it should come up with a policy before it was forced to face the issue.
Some people in Delta County have called for the recall of Svenson, although no formal action has been taken.
In turn, Svenson said constitutionalists and tea party activists are demanding the recall of the other four board members if they don't support her position.
Kurt Clay, assistant superintendent of Delta schools, said the district administration does not agree with Svenson's views.
"We are nondiscriminatory. We welcome all students into our schools," he said.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com