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Conservative media has been spreading a story that apparently first appeared on the badly named Christian Broadcasting Network about a transgender student in Florence, CO who has been accused of harassing girls in the locker room and rest rooms.

My old friend Cristan Williams debunked that story by speaking directly with Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti, who explained that there was indeed no harassment taking place.  Indeed there were rather a few parents who were opposed to the fact that a transgender student was being allowed to use the locker room of the gender with which she identifies.

Pacific Justice Institute, which is taking the lead to repeal California's AB 1266, which protects the freedom of transgender students to pursue an equal education with that of their peers, has now basically admitted that they invented the story.

PJI apparently contacted attorney Cathy Brennan, who speaks for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, a group that basically doesn't believe that transpeople exist and also that any attempt to respect us is an attack on all women everywhere, with the following message:

We’ve seen similar claims.  It is our position that the intrusion of a biological male into a restroom for teenage girls is inherently intimidating and harassing.  We have received additional reports of particular incidents of harassment, and we are working to corroborate those reports.  In our letter, we specifically asked the school to notify us immediately if they disputed any of the factual allegations.  To date, they have not done so.  The core of this story — that the school is elevating the rights of one self-proclaimed transgender student while minimizing the privacy rights of all the biologically female students, has not been seriously controverted.  We encourage journalists to continue their important work of investigating the details of this story independently and not simply accepting the statements of either side, and certainly not pulling their stories simply because activists demand this story be silenced.
Alec Torres of the National Review Online contacted the PJI and spoke with staff attorney Matthew Mc Reynolds who said…
[T]he core issue is that this school is giving this transgender youth full access to both boys’ and girls’ facilities, and they are showing little if any regard for the privacy rights of other students. . . . We have received additional reports of specific, inappropriate statements made by this student, and we are working to corroborate those reports.

We’re standing by our allegations that our student clients have been threatened with retaliation by school officials for talking about this, including [the threat of] being kicked off athletic teams.  [School officials] have also thrown around the notion that hate crimes could be charged against students just for talking about this.

Superintendent Vendetti denied the harassment charges when she spoke with Williams, as you can hear on the recording she posted.  But that is not stopping PJI from claiming that it exists.

This is one parent basically bringing their viewpoint about this situation to the media because they weren't getting the responses that they hoped they would get from the district, from parents of students at the high school, or from the board and myself... To our knowledge and based on our investigation, none of those things (harassment) have actually happened.  We do have a transgender student at the high school and she has been using the women's restroom.  There has not been a situation.

--Rhonda Vendetti

Transgender activists are in full damage control mode because they know how explosive and damaging to their cause this story is.  The central issue in this case—a high school’s decision to give a biological teenage boy full access to teenage girls’ bathrooms is both disturbing and not seriously disputed.  It is very revealing that the Superintendent is seeking sympathy from transgender activists instead of addressing the serious concerns raised in our letter.
Apparently "full damage control" consists of searching out the actual facts.
At this point, it’s become an international story.  Of course it has.  It appeals to the trans-rapist/stalker-meme so beloved by the right wing.  The fact is that this “news” was generated by a right wing organization that apparently doesn’t have an issue with targeting trans kids in their ideological war.
Media Matters reports the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) first 'broke' the story last week after reading an unsubstantiated 'complaint' from the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative group that claims to promote "religious freedom" but focuses almost entirely on promoting Christianity and opposing a variety of progressive causes, including LGBT rights.  Fox News then republished the untruthful CBN post word-for-word on its Fox Nation website.

--Brett Wilkins, DIgital Journal

This is exactly the kind of horror story we have been warning would accompany the push for radical transgender rights in schools and it is the type of situation that LGBT activits (sic) have been insisting would not happen.

--Matthew McReynolds

Except, you know…
---didn't happen.

Originally posted to TransAction on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Voices on the Square, LGBT Kos Community, and Invisible People.

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