A member of the Delta County School Board in Colorado is defending comments she made during a public meeting in which she criticized proposed new policies that would add a layer of protection for students who identify as transgender.
During the board’s October meeting, Katherine Svenson sounded the alarm over Massachusetts and California’s recently adapted policies that protect students who identify as a different gender than their biological one. “I just want to emphasize,” she said. “Not in this district. Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.”
Parents, community members, and even a few of her fellow board members criticized Svenson for her comments, but she is standing behind her comments.
“I don’t have a problem if some boys think they are girls,” she told the local CBS affiliate last week. “I’m just saying as long as they can impregnate a woman, they’re not going to go in girls locker room.”
The law in California that Svenson criticized gives transgender students the right to use the restrooms of the gender they identify as. Svenson’s remarks echo the criticism that the National Organization for Marriage has leveled during their campaign to overturn the California law.
“I do not want a naked boy in front of a young girl in the shower or bathroom even if he sincerely identifies as a girl,” said NOM’s Brian Brown last week during a fundraising event for the anti-equality organization.
California and a handful of other states are beginning to take action to curb the harassment and bullying of transgender students by adding new protections into state law, but that has so far done nothing to curb the rising number of instances of incendiary rhetoric being directed towards transgender people, especially transgender youth.
The issue has taken center stage in Colorado after the Pacific Justice Institute, an organization that is campaigning heavily against California’s law, began running an ad aimed at a Colorado trans teenager that alleges she is “harassing” her classmates by using the women’s restrooms. Though there is no law in the books protecting trans students in Colorado, the state’s Civil Rights Division ruled in favor of transgender students earlier this year by arguing that students have the right to use the restrooms of whichever gender they identify as.
According to transgender blogger Cristan Williams, Svenson co-founded an anti-gay ministry with her daughter (TellASIA), received her information about transgender students from Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, and believes that transgender kids pose a rape risk.