There was a walkout at Hillsboro High School in Missouri today to protest a transgender student, Lila Perry, who wanted to use the female locker room during gym class (video below).
Perry was born a male, self-identified her gender identity as female at age 13, but let school officials know this semester of her intentions to use female facilities. The disclosure caused controversy last week among parents during a school board meeting, reported KTVI, and today with students on campus.
“There’s a lot of ignorance, I don't, they are claiming that they’re uncomfortable," Perry told News 4. "I don’t believe for a second they are. I think this is pure and simple bigotry."
Over 150 students walked out of the school for about two hours, however, about 30-40 showed support for Perry.
School administrators and Perry feared for her safety, so the senior was locked inside the principal’s office during the walkout, reports St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Perry told News 4 that school officials offered her a private gender-neutral restroom, which she turned down.
“I wasn’t hurting anyone and I didn’t want to feel segregated out," Perry added. "I didn’t want to be in the gender-neutral bathroom. I wanted to be, I am girl, I shouldn’t have to be pushed away, and just off to another bathroom."
Perry has dropped out of gym class for safety reasons, but is planning to continue to use the female bathroom facilities.
However, students and parents who were interviewed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were strongly in favor of banning Perry from female facilities.
Superintendent Aaron D. Cornman said in a written statement today that the school district respected the students' right to free speech, but added:
[N]o matter race, nationality/ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. We will promote tolerance and acceptance of all students that attend our district while not tolerating bullying/harassing behaviors of any type in any form.