The Manning Mama: Protecting All Our Children, Not Just Some


Editor’s Note: The following column is an opinion-based column  that does not  necessarily reflect the standing of The Manning Times.

As a progressive mother, daughter, sister, and aunt, I am compelled to address recent political and public discourse that seeks to distort the purpose and protections of Title IX. I believe this discourse does not present a genuine concern for the safety and opportunities of our children but instead perpetuates the hostility against my LGBTQ+ family and friends.

The true battle here is against the prejudice and discrimination that our queer youth face every day.

The very few openly gay or transgender kids in Clarendon County are acutely aware of the hate and vitriol directed at them, especially during Pride month. They see the belligerent comments on social media and feel the sting of societal rejection. If there were a choice, I assure you, these children would not choose to be gay or trans in such a community. Their existence is not a political statement or a trend but a fundamental aspect of who they are.

One of the solutions to the so-called “trans bathroom debate” is to propose outhouses. This borderline inhumane suggestion was made on a Republican candidate’s recent social media post. Imagine the humiliation and isolation of being forced to use a restroom in a field outside the school. This is not a solution; it is a blatant act of cruelty that demeans and ostracizes transgender students, sending a clear message that they are unwelcome and unworthy of basic respect.

Furthermore, studies have consistently shown that transgender individuals are at a higher risk of being assaulted when using public restrooms. Contrary to the fear mongering claims, there is no evidence that allowing transgender people to use facilities that match their gender identity increases safety risks. A rigorous study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found no correlation between nondiscrimination laws and increased crime in restrooms or other gender-segregated facilities. The myth that men will disguise themselves as women to commit assaults in bathrooms is just that—a myth, unsupported by any factual basis.

The expansion of Title IX to include protections for “sex stereotypes,” “sex-related characteristics,” “pregnancy or related conditions,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” is not an attack on women and girls. It is a necessary step to ensure that all students are safe from discrimination and harassment. This is about creating an inclusive environment where children can thrive, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Opponents claim that these changes will jeopardize our daughters’ safety and opportunities, but the evidence simply does not support this. Instead, these protections will safeguard the rights and dignity of all students, including those who are transgender. It is crucial to recognize that transgender people are frequently denied access, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted when trying to use public restrooms. The proposed changes to Title IX are a step towards ensuring that transgender students can go to school without fear of discrimination or violence.

The rhetoric used in conservative talking points is deeply concerning and rooted in animosity rather than genuine concern for safety or fairness. It is imperative that we see through these fear-based arguments and stand up for the rights of all students. The changes to Title IX are about extending protections to those who have been marginalized and ensuring that our schools are safe and welcoming for every child.

As a community, we should reject policies that demean and exclude any student. We must advocate for inclusive policies that uphold the dignity and rights of all students. Title IX was created to protect against discrimination, and these proposed changes honor that original intent by extending protections to those who need them most.

To my fellow parents, guardians, and citizens of Clarendon County: I believe we care about one another enough to rise above the fear mongering and support policies that protect all our children. The expansion of Title IX is not an attack on women and girls but a crucial step towards equality and justice for every student. We can and should be able to come together to ensure that our schools are safe, inclusive, and respectful places for all.