A transgender teacher in Wisconsin is claiming that his school’s new policy to keep teachers out of student bathrooms is “transphobic.”
According to 4W, a biological male teacher who calls himself “Vica Steel,” has publicly accused the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) of transphobia.
The teacher, formerly known as Mark Vincent Busenbark, teaches science at Frank Allis Elementary School, in Madison, Wisconsin. Last year, Steel made headlines when he subjected his young students to a bizarre “coming out” video in which he instructed them to refer to him with the title “Mx.” (pronounced like “mix”) instead of Mr. or Ms.
Now, in an open letter to the school district, Busenbark claims that the district’s policy of separating teacher and student bathrooms is “transphobic:”
The leadership of Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is currently enacting a transphobic policy. And yes, it’s about bathrooms. It’s ALWAYS about bathrooms.
Here are the facts:
The policy our leadership is enacting is to require that staff and students use different bathrooms. I know, that doesn’t seem transphobic on the face of it. Our leadership wants to push the idea that it’s just a clarification of existing expectations. They want us to believe that it’s not transphobic, it’s just about safety and about “listening to all stakeholders”. And if that were true, this would not be a problem.
How exactly is keeping all teachers out of student bathrooms and vice versa “transphobic?”
In the 23 years that I’ve been in the district, students and staff have always used the same multi-stall bathrooms in our schools. Does that shock you? Women using the same bathrooms as girls? Can I ask you to name any public space that segregates bathroom use by age? Do theme parks? Malls? Restaurants? Museums? Every place I’ve been in my life, Adults and youth use multi-stall bathrooms. Why would anyone think schools are in any way different than every other place we go in our lives.
Busenbark claims that during his tenure with the district, there has never been a complaint regarding biological female staff using the same bathrooms as their students.
Last month, Busenbark says, he began using the same multi-stall bathroom as the women in his wing of the school.
“Within days a transphobic parent complained to the district and our leadership, instead of following established guidelines for transgender people and our district’s bathrooms, the leadership decided to rush a change of policy so that I would not use that bathroom,” he said.
Busenbark added that the school does, in fact, have a bathroom policy allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom which most closely aligns with their preferred “gender identity,” as well as several “all-gender” bathrooms.
“There is no district policy regarding adult staff using children’s bathrooms, so therefore there have been no policy changes,” said MMSD Public Information Officer Tim LeMonds in an interview with 4W. “However, as a best practice, the district does encourage adult staff to not use a children’s bathroom.”
LeMonds recognized that this best practice is “for safety purposes”, and clarified that adult staff members are given, “choice of which adult bathroom they use based on the gender with which they identify.”
Busenbark’s open letter argues that since adult bathrooms are limited in the building, having to walk “halfway down our long hallways, and down to the first floor” to access an adult ladies’ room would be an inconvenience.
LeMonds agreed that Allis Elementary “has an aging building infrastructure”, and that “the availability of adult designated bathrooms can be very limited,” but that there is “some discretion” around this best practice.
4W noted that there appears to be some confusion regarding “Steel’s” identity, “which seems to fluctuate based on the day.” As we reported last year, Steel came out as “non-binary” to her students, forcing them to watch a self-recorded video during class. In the video, Busenbark reads from a book titled, “They Call Me Mix”, and states “I am not a boy. I am not just a girl. I am both!” He also asked his students to refer to him with “they/them/their” pronouns.
In his open letter, however, “Steel” said, “I am an open and out transgender woman.”
Now, how does that make an ounce of sense? As 4W points out, shouldn’t a non-binary person have no problem using either male or female bathrooms since their gender is not limited to just male or female? Instead, Busenbark seems willing to limit his identity to “female” in order to save a few steps to the bathroom.
MMSD is under fire from parents in the district as well, as we reported earlier this week.
On February 18th, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), filed a lawsuit against the district on behalf of eight parents over a policy that allows school staff to deceive parents in order to help students “socially transition.”
The suit specifically lists Steel’s coming out video and reading of “They Call Me Mx” to students as an example of the district’s harmful policies and willful attempts to “disrupt the gender binary.”
I think the choice is quite clear for parents in the Madison Metropolitan School District.
If this is the kind of thing they want to impose on our children, they should no longer have access to our children.
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