Angry parents of a trans boy in Wisconsin pulled their kid out of school when school staff said that they were going to support the boy and refer to him with he/him pronouns.
Now they and another set of parents are suing the Kettle Moraine School District in suburban Milwaukee, alleging that their parental rights have been violated because the school is affirming their child’s gender identity.
The hate group Alliance Defending Freedom and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit in a state court on behalf of the two sets of parents. The lawsuit says that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution protect the rights of parents “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” even though neither document mentions parents’ rights specifically.
The lawsuit says that schools referring to transgender students with the correct pronouns is a form of medical treatment, and parents have a right to determine what medical treatment their children undergo.
At the same time, the lawsuit also says that the gender identity of a child is a matter of the parents’ “own system of beliefs.”
The first set of parents says that their 12-year-old child started identifying as a boy, so they pulled him out of school and let him attend a mental health center. To their horror, the mental health center affirmed the boy’s identity.
The parents, though, continued to insist that their son is a girl because that was his sex assigned at birth. In their lawsuit – which refers to their son with she/her pronouns – they say their “extensive research into this issue” showed them that their son needed “to take time to explore the cause of [his] feelings,” despite the evaluation at the mental health center. According to the parents, the son could not explore his feelings if his gender was being affirmed.
The parents called the school and told the principal that their son was to be referred to with she/her pronouns and the name on his birth certificate, despite his insistence that he’s a boy and the evaluation at the mental health center. The principal said that he could not agree to that since the district’s policy is to respect a student’s gender identity.
The parents said that they then pulled their son out of school and shopped for a therapist who would reject their son’s gender identity. They claim that their son “changed [his] mind” on his own during the time he wasn’t allowed to go to school and was kept at home with them, which they say proves that they were right all along.
The second set of parents has two children in the district. They do not say that their kids are transgender. They are just joining the lawsuit out of fear that the school might start affirming their children’s gender identities if they are transgender and not out the kid to their parents.
Despite the lawsuit’s focus on parents’ ability to determine how their children are addressed, Alliance Defending Freedom has never really cared about that in the past. The Christian conservative organization filed a lawsuit in Connecticut to get transgender student-athletes banned from participating in school sports, and their lawsuit misgendered the transgender students despite how those teens had affirming parents.
The school is not commenting on the lawsuit.