The U.S. Supreme Court this week remanded and vacated the case brought against the Virginia School Board by transgender teen, Gavin Grimm, for not allowing him to use the bathroom of his chosen gender. Recent Trump administration guidelines effectively stopped the federal guidelines issued by the Obama administration, which advised schools to allow students use the bathroom of their chosen gender and not their biological birth.
Sott.net stated that ”The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia sided with the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX to side with Grimm, accepting the administration’s reading of the law without deciding for itself what the law and a related regulation on same-sex bathrooms and locker rooms mean.”
And while this might mean that eventually The Supreme Court will hear this with a full court, if the current nominee is approved, the case and Gavin are once again in limbo until it goes through the appeals process. Unfortunately this also means that any decision will be too late for Gavin since he will graduate by the time this runs through the entire appeals system and finally reaches the Supreme Court.
And while the slow machine that is our court system of appeals and motions and hearings and decisions runs slow, the danger to young transgender children while all of this is going on is a concern. We are leaving these children in limbo without offering any alternatives as they wait for our government to decide where they can go to the bathroom. It sets them up for further ridicule and bullying becasue not even the school systems have any clear direction about what to do in the mean time.
If we look at legislations currently at one point or another in the process of our court system, it is frightening how many of these bills and directives have to do with our private bodily functions. From contraception to abortion to gay marriage to transgender bathroom use, we are dealing with the most private things in our lives that have now been thrown out onto public display and further increase the possibility of continued disenfranchisement and bullying. We are caught in a spiral of court battles with everyone left on their own until the whole thing runs its course and final decisions are handed down.
The repercussions of many of these directives are harmful in the least and dangerous in the extreme. And while we are caught in the shiny flash of Russian conspiracies and following the very craftily and well-placed fodder for shinny headlines and flourishes of twitter frenzies the ensuing smoke is redirecting our attention and keeping us occupied while other bills and mandates are being piled on around us so quickly it’s hard to keep informed.
These are just a few of the bills and directives that have happened recently that could possibly cause far-reaching damage to so many:
- Arkansas has called for a Senate Joint Resolution for a Constitutional-Amendment:
“For the purpose of proposing an amendment prohibiting the united States Constitution or the constitutions or laws of any state from defining or construing the definition of “marriage” to mean other than the union of one man and one woman.”
- Arkansas Bill HB1032 prohibits an abortion by means of Dilation and Evacuation (D&E). This is generally considered the safest type of abortion. There is also a provision in this bill that would allow family members to sue doctors performing abortions, effectively making it a felony to perform an abortion.
- Trump has already signed the global gag rule pulling funding from international organizations that provide abortion counseling. According to org the impact of this directive could mean:
- 5 million unintended pregnancies
- 1 million unsafe abortions
- 21,700 maternal deaths
- There are also bills in several states (one penned by Pence in Indiana in 2013) that would make it a felony for anyone marrying a same-sex couple.
And the list goes on and on. If it feels like there is a war that seeks to take control of what we do with our bodies and our preferences and our very definitions of how we represent and define and ourselves; you are absolutely right.
We can keep fighting these local state bills, by finding out what is going on in our own neighborhoods. Seek out the bills that are being introduced in your state and by your state representatives. Call them and ask them where they stand on women’s contraception and abortion rights, lgbtqqia+ issues such as transgender bathrooms and gay marriage and ask them for interim remedies for those affected (especially our teenagers waiting for decisions about transgender bathrooms) until the courts make a final decision. Tell them how you want them to represent you on all of these issues. Don’t let the smoke and mirror twitter politics pull you away from what is being done behind the scenes. Stay in touch with your local community. Go to town halls, if your community hasn’t had a town hall, organize one and invite your local representatives. They will act on their own if we don’t tell them what we want them to do. Make sure they know you will vote them out of office if they don’t represent you on these and so many other issues
We will not be heard unless we speak up.
We can’t speak up if we are not informed.
Joan Hanna has published poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, book reviews and essays in various online and print journals. Hanna’s first poetry chapbook, Threads, was named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Both Threads and her second chapbook, The Miracle of Mercury, are available through Finishing Line Press. Hanna has previously served as Assistant Managing Editor for River Teeth, Assistant Editor for rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal, Managing Editor for Poets’ Quarterly and Senior Editor at Glassworks. Hanna holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and teaches creative writing at Rowan University. You can follow her personal blog at Writing Through Quicksand.