Joe Wilson, Coordinator
Transgender Leaders to Deliver a Petition with Thousands of Signatures Calling on
the Hawaii Department of Education to Respect and Protect Transgender Students
WHAT: Prominent transgender figures including fashion designer Ari South, soccer and film star Jaiyah Saelua, and teacher and cultural practitioner Hina Wong-Kalu will gather with local transgender students and their families and community supporters to express the urgent need, and offer a strong show of support, for the Hawaii Department of Education to establish guidelines and training to ensure that students across the gender spectrum are respected and protected in schools.
“This is so important for our keiki that I'm going to the DOE instead of the White House this week,” said Wong-Kalu, who was recently selected to receive an Asian American - Pacific Islander Champion of Change award in Washington DC this week.
WHEN: 1:00pm, Tuesday, May 3, 2016
WHERE: Front steps of the Hawaii State Department of Education, Queen Liliuokalani Bldg., 1390 Miller Street, Honolulu, HI
A growing number of stories about transgender students facing discrimination in Hawaii public schools underscore the need for fair and consistent treatment district wide. The petitioners, recognizing the courageous leadership of the Board of Education in providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students, are holding this event to demonstrate the broad interest in these concerns and the growing public support for expeditious action.
The petition requests the DOE to establish a clear set of guidelines, consistent with its existing anti-discrimination policy, to ensure that all students are safe, included and respected in school, regardless of their gender identity or expression, and to conduct training and educational activities to ensure that these guidelines are known and implemented, and that students have the opportunity to express themselves and live authentically. The DOE is urged to study the policies and best practices, such as those presented in the California and GLSEN transgender model district policies, that have been adopted by school districts across the country without any incidents of confusion, harassment, or inappropriate behavior. The United States Department of Education has advised schools that failure to treat students consistent with their gender identity leaves them open to legal prosecution under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Additional Participants Expected:
Jennea Purcell and Berlin Scott – Transgender Kahuku High School student and her mother
Wendy Wink – Parent of second grade transgender student in Honolulu elementary school
Sinan Sison & Cathy Kapua – Kuaʻana Transgender Services Project of the Life Foundation
Laila Villanueva Ireland – Transgender nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center
Camaron Miyamoto – University of Hawaii at Manoa LGBT Student Services Coordinator