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    MYTH:

    I don’t know any lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer people.

    FACT:

    Many experts view sexuality on a continuum, recognizing that many or perhaps most people are not exclusively gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or heterosexual throughout their entire lives, and that people’s identities may not match their behavior.


    MYTH:

    There are no gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth - they’re too young.

    FACT:

    Assuming that roughly 10 percent  of the population is homosexual or bisexual, there are approximately 3 million lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer adolescents in the United States. Yet traditional support systems (families, places of worship, schools, peers, and society in general) often reject, ostracize, or deny the existence of these youth. Statistics show that substance abuse, suicide, and school/peer/home problems are disproportionately high among LGBTQ youth. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death among LGBTQ students.

    *Gary Remafedi, ed. Death by Denial: Studies of Suicide in Gay and Lesbian Teenagers. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1994.


    MYTH:

    Sexual orientation is a choice.

    FACT:

    How a particular sexual orientation develops in any individual, whether homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, is not completely understood by scientists. What is known is that sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Some people report trying continuously over a course of many years to change their sexual orientation from homosexual and heterosexual with no success. For these reasons, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation for most people to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

    *Caitlin Ryan and Donna Futterman. Lesbian and Gay Youth: Care and Counseling. New York: Columbia UP, 1998. American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.


    MYTH:

    This policy only affects transgender students.

    FACT:

    Not true. This is not a transgender policy, it is an inclusion policy and will benefit all students. 


    MYTH:

    A gender inclusion policy will lead to safety issues and will violate student privacy in school facilities.

    FACT:

    The availability of school facilities will take time to address, but everyone needs to be able to use facilities with safety and dignity, whether or not their gender identity matches their gender assigned at birth. The Facilities Master Planning Committee* is working to find ways to increase privacy for all students in restrooms and locker rooms. Since a Gender Inclusion Policy benefits all students, accommodations could also be made for students who are not transgender.
     
    All Saint Paul Public Schools have single-occupant restrooms available. Currently, these restrooms fall under one of three categories: staff restrooms, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant restrooms, and a restroom in the nurse’s office.
     
    There is no correlation between unsafe school environments and providing equitable access to facilities for transgender and gender non-conforming students. 
     
    Outreach and workshops are being conducted with teachers, students and families to guide the procedures that will address the needs of all students.
     
    *The Facilities Master Planning Committee is a group of district leaders, principals, teachers, students, parents, community members and key partners. This group, along with school-level committees, will identify and prioritize construction and remodeling projects at schools and buildings across the district.

    MYTH:

    I have the right to know if a transgender or gender non-conforming student is using the same bathroom as my child.

    FACT:

    Other students and/or their parents do not have the right to know the sex or gender identity of a specific student. All students’ sex and gender identity is considered private data and is protected under the Minnesota Data Practices Act and cannot be shared publicly.  
     
    Additionally, you cannot determine a person’s sex or gender identity simply by their outward appearance.

    MYTH:

    This policy is a violation of state law.

    FACT:

    The Minnesota Human Rights Act specifically states:
     
    1.      Sexual orientation is defined as having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness. (363A.03)
     
    2.      It is unfair and discriminatory practice to deny any person the full and equal enjoyment of the services, facilities, privileges and accommodations of a place of public accommodations because of race, color, sexual orientation or sex. (Statute 363A.11)
     
    3.      It is an unfair discriminatory practice to discriminate in any manner in the full utilization of or benefit from any educational institution, or the services rendered thereby to any person because of race, color… sexual orientation, or disability. (Statute 363A.13)
     
    Minnesota supreme court ruled in Goins v. West Group (2011) employers are not required to assign facility use based upon biological sex.
     
    Appellate court in Cruzan v. Special Sch. Dist. #1 (2002) ruled that transgender people’s use of restroom does not merit a hostile work environment.
     
    These courts ruled specifically on employers but the ruling has been widely assumed to apply to educational institutions as well.
     
    The US Department of Education and the Department of Justice has declared that transgender people are protected class citizens and are afforded all protection from discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act.

    MYTH:

    This policy requires teachers to teach about sexual activity. 

    FACT:

    Not true. The policy works to foster a gender equitable learning environment for all our students. This policy does not address teaching about sexual activity.  
      

    MYTH:

    This policy will allow for an unfair competitive advantage in sports and could take away scholarship opportunities for my daughter.

    FACT:

    The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has established guidelines for the participation of transgender student athletes. Our policy is in alignment with the MSHSL.
     
    Several states have had transgender student athlete policies similar to our gender inclusion policy for several years. There are not any known cases where an individual has “faked” their gender identity to gain access to an athletic team.
     
    Additionally, the NCAA has clear transgender student athlete policies for eligibility for college scholarships.
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