About 150 Missouri high school students walked out on Monday over disagreements about which locker room a transgender student should be allowed to use.
Senior Lila Perry, who was born male but has identified as female since she was 13, asked school officials at Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Missouri, to use the girls’ locker during gym class, but her request was met with fierce backlash from other students uncomfortable with the idea.
“Boys needs to have their own locker room. Girls need to have their own locker room and if somebody has mixed feelings where they are, they need to have their own also,” student Jeff Childs told KMOV-TV.
Childs was one of about 100 students who walked out of school for about two hours on Monday in protest of Perry’s request to use the girls’ locker room. About 30 to 40 students staged their own walkout in support of her.
“There’s a lot of ignorance. They are claiming that they’re uncomfortable. I don’t believe for a second that they are,” Perry said. “I think this is pure and simple bigotry. I wasn’t hurting anyone and I didn’t want to feel segregated out.”
The school had offered to let Perry use a separate gender-neutral bathroom, which she declined.
“I am [a] girl. I shouldn’t be pushed off to another bathroom,” she told KMOV.
Others disagree, saying it would mean that the other girls would just have to “suck it up.”
Tammy Sorden, whose son attends the school, said it’s fine to be different but added that that shouldn’t mean Perry is entitled to another locker room.
“The girls have rights, and they shouldn’t have to share a bathroom with a boy,” Sorden told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Perry is no longer enrolled in gym class but said she plans to continue to use the girls’ restroom.
Administrators at the high school referred the Post Dispatch’s questions to Superintendent Aaron Cornman who told the paper that the district “respects the rights of all students and appreciates the fact that the students we are educating are willing to stand on their belief system and to support their cause/beliefs through their expression of free speech.”
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