HILLSBORO, Mo. (Christian Examiner) -- Transgenderism may be the latest "cause celebre" for mainstream media and the academic world, but a group of high school students in Missouri apparently aren't on board.
More than 150 students at Hillsboro (Mo.) High School staged a walkout Monday, the majority of them protesting a transgender student who was born male but wants to use locker rooms and restrooms used by girls.
His name is Lila Perry, and he previously identified as a gay male but during school last year began identifying as transgender and as a girl, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He decided this year – his senior year -- he no longer wanted to use the single-user bathroom facility. That meant he would be changing clothes with the girls in the girls' locker room, as well as using the toilets in the girls' bathrooms.
About 30-40 of the students who walked out supported Perry, but more than 100 did not, KFOR-TV reported.
One father outside of the school held a sign that simply read, "Girl's rights matter."
"Boys needs to have their own locker room. Girls need to have their own locker room and if somebody has mixed feelings where they are, they need to have their own also," protester Jeff Childs told the station.
Childs is not alone. A March CBS News poll of 1,016 U.S. adults found that 59 percent of Americans believe "transgendered students should use the bathrooms/locker rooms" of their birth, while 26 percent said they should use the ones of their "preferred gender." Even among 18-29 year olds, by a margin of 49-35 percent, Americans said transgendered students should use the bathrooms/locker rooms of their birth.
"The girls have rights, and they shouldn't have to share a bathroom with a boy," parent Tammy Sorden, who has a son at the school, told the Post-Dispatch. It is wrong to essentially just tell the girls to just "suck it up" and let Perry have his way, Sorden said.
Perry insisted he wasn't "hurting anyone."
"I didn't want to be in something gender-neutral," Perry told the TV station. "I am a girl. I am not going to be pushed away to another bathroom."
Perry, who wears a wig, also refused to believe the girls are simply uncomfortable.
"I think this is pure and simple bigotry," Perry said.
Incredibly, the school could run afoul of federal government policy if it refuses to accommodate Perry. Kelli Hopkins of the Missouri School Boards' Association told the newspaper that the federal "Office of Civil Rights has issued an opinion that says, if you do this" – that is, refuse to accommodate students who wish to use facilities of the opposite sex – "you have engaged in gender discrimination."
"At the same time," Hopkins said, "there is no case law or statute in Missouri that says this is against the law."