Monday, October 7, 2013

The people who killed Lincoln's fairness ordinance now are going after transgendered school kids. Here's how you can defend them, since Nebraska's leading LGBT organizations apparently aren't

A quick looksee by AKSARBENT this morning seems to indicate that, of the leading Nebraska gay organizations, not one is devoting a bit of space on its website to defending transgendered schoolkids against the Nebraska Family Alliance's new antiLGBT Jihad.
     Not Citizens for Equal Protection. Not Heartland Pride. Not Outlinc. And neither PFLAG Lincoln nor PFLAG Omaha.
     While the new Nebraska Family Alliance (the merger of Family First of Nebraska and the Nebraska Family Association) is busy lobbying the Nebraska School Activities Association to keep life difficult for transgendered kids, Nebraska's gay groups don't seem to have organized any website pushback at all.
     (AKSARBENT doesn't use Facebook, so we can only hope that said organizations are at least doing something effective on that platform, but we wouldn't stake our lives on it.)
     The other day, Zack Ford, at D.C.'s ThinkProgress, went so far as to publish a POINT BY POINT rebuttal of the Nebraska Family Alliance's attack, just perfect for emailing to the board members of the NSAA, now being lobbied hard by the usual antigay suspects from all over the state.
     It's a sad state of affairs when a D.C. policy group is so outraged by what is happening to gay kids in Nebraska that it does a better job of providing a blueprint for pushback than the state's own LGBT groups seem to be doing, which, as far as AKSARBENT can see, is either relatively little or absolutely nothing.
     Here's something you can do, dear reader, that Nebraska's biggest LGBT organizations aren't:
     1) Open your email and copy the email addresses below into the "To" box; if NSAA's server bounces your email because it mistakes your missive for spam, then send the letter nine times, each time to a different recipient (hassle, I know);
     2) Copy the letter below the first dotted line into the body of the email and click "send" (Obviously you should read the letter first and add or delete whatever you think is appropriate. If you choose to include Zack Ford's arguments, you should not modify them. Be polite, persuasive and firm.)

NSAA Board & Executive Director contact information:

Wendy Henrichs, Dist. I, Lincoln East
Mark Norvell, Dist. I, Fillmore Central
Dr. Jerry Bartee, Dist. II, OPS
Dr. Bob Reznicek, Dist. II, Boys Town
Mr. Jay Bellar, Dist. III, Battle Creek
Dr. Brian Maher, Dist. IV, Kearney
Alan Garey, Dist. V, Medicine Valley
Mr. Kent Halley, Dist. VI, Mitchell
Rhonda Blanford-Green, Executive Director,,,,,,,,


As a Nebraskan concerned with the exclusion of some students who may wish to participate in school activities, I am disturbed by the campaign being mounted by the Nebraska Family Alliance, a recent merger of two organizations, the Nebraska Family Council and Family First of Nebraska, to limit opportunities for transgendered Nebraska students.

These organizations have a history of objecting to fair treatment of LGBT Nebraskans and a pattern of misrepresenting facts. Recently they have begun a pressure campaign to persuade your organization not to adopt an enlightened transgender policy and, apparently, to raise money for their own organization by fear-mongering regarding this issue.

They allege the following regarding your proposed policy:
  • It  creates the potential of allowing some students unfair advantages, particularly in the case of a biologically male student playing on a girls’ athletic team.
  • It is unclear how this would affect gender-separated locker rooms and restrooms. If transgendered males or females may use the opposite sex’s facilities, it raises safety concerns.
  • A transgender policy could create an undo [sic] financial burden on local school districts to accommodate transgender students in regard to athletic facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms.
Not one of the above Nebraska Family Alliance objections is defensible, as Zack Ford at Washington D.C.'s ThinkProgress noted in a recent article about your policy deliberations and the NFA's current attempt to influence those deliberations.

Here is what Mr. Ford wrote about the truthfulness of the arguments that the Nebraska Family Alliance is employing to sway you:


These three misguided notions about transgender students can be easily rebutted.

First, the claim of unfair advantages relies on a number of assumptions that paint an incomplete picture. A national report on transgender equality in scholastic athletics points out that this argument only applies to trans women (those born male), assumes that trans women are not “real” women, and leaves no room for trans women who have used hormone blockers to avoid the impact pubescent testosterone might have on their bodies. Further, research has found no evidence to suggest trans women actually have a competitive advantage:

It is also important to know that any athletic advantages a transgender girl or woman arguably may have as a result of her prior testosterone levels dissipate after about one year of estrogen therapy. According to medical experts on this issue, the assumption that a transgender girl or woman competing on a women’s team would have a competitive advantage outside the range of performance and competitive advantage or disadvantage that already exists among female athletes is not supported by evidence. As one survey of the existing research concludes, “the data available does not appear to suggest that transitioned athletes would compete at an advantage or disadvantage as compared with physically born men and women.”
There is nothing to substantiate the claim that allowing transgender people access to the locker room they identify with will have any implication on “safety.” This relies on assumptions that trans people are inherently deviant, or that gender identity is a switch someone can flip on any given day. Like those fighting California’s protections for transgender students, the Nebraska Family Alliance provide no answers as to which — if any — facilities transgender people should be able to use.

Perhaps conservatives believe that trans people should have their own separate — and thus ostracizing — facilities. Only that could explain the third claim of a financial burden for schools. All that needs to happen is for schools to learn how to respect and defend students’ gender identities and whatever facilities they already have will suffice. At worst, schools might accommodate a trans student by installing a privacy stall or curtain, a negligible cost that can be administered in a given afternoon by a maintenance person.


I encourage you to adopt the proposed reforms that your organization is considering.


  1. I think it is important for this information to get out. However, all of these organizations are volunteer and rather than critize for what they aren't doing, letting them know what is going on and the need to do something is vital. Attacking these groups, that are often doing the very best they can with limited resources, is called horizontal hostility. We need to unite to work toward a more progressive, compassionate, caring and informed society not attack those who are also want the same things and have contributed in many ways to the wellbeing of the LGBT community. Thank you for sharing this information as I had not seen it yet.

  2. P.S. I will also help spread the word and the link to your article.

  3. So they are volunteers and we can't criticize them? The people doing the criticizing are volunteers, too. And if the LGBT public knows their groups are lagging in some areas, people learning this info may want to step in and help.