Hey, teacher! Don't leave LGBTQ kids alone! RT debate on Virginia lockdown drill controversy
A middle school in the US state of Virginia is under fire after it separated a young transgender student from classmates during an emergency lockdown drill for a gun attack, as teachers couldn't decide whether the pupil should take cover in the boys' or girls' locker room.
There has been a massive backlash to the incident, including from LGBTQ rights groups. School authorities are now pledging to review all protocols and procedures to make sure children are treated with dignity and respect in future.
RT discussed how to handle transgender issues with outspoken radio host and journalist Jon Gaunt, and veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
According to Peter Tatchell, this issue is not about whether you support trans people or their rights but about child welfare and safety.
"And practically, the paramount concern in a drill situation is to replicate the effective protection of young people from a potential assailant. If this had not been a drill, if it had been a real-life incident of a terrorist attack upon that school, I fear that as the teachers debated with the trans people where to place them… they would have all been exposed and they would have all been potentially killed," Tatchell continued.
In his opinion, this incident is a wake-up call for schools and all public institutions to have transgender policies in place, especially when it comes to safety concerns in the event of a terrorist incident.
He suggested that it is paramount for the welfare of teachers and kids that there is a policy that is trans-inclusive: "I don't see why there could have been possibly any problem with the trans people going into the group of their preferred gender."
Tatchell also believes that children do not have to be necessarily segregated into boys and girls, as the main thing in this kind of situation is to get the kids to a safe place.
Jon Gaunt agreed with Tatchell that the school should have thought about this before, and have a policy already in place – "not when there is either a potential or real shooter stalking the corridors and the stairwells of the school."
"But the policy should be quite simple: it is a common sense policy. If this person identifies as woman, put them in with the women. Because all that matters is keeping the kids safe – now it is not the time to have a transgender discussion, certainly not in the corridor… But it is not trans policy," he explained.
Gaunt argued that "the trans lobby would like to turn this into a trans story."
He said that trans people are trying "to dominate the social policy, change the world into their way of thinking" as a part of "the crippling agenda for the rest of us to accept these people in this way."
He believes that the school should be told off for this mistake but outrage around the situation is pathetic. "Everybody is treading on eggshells around this subject, so probably the school was worried they would get accused of transphobia or whatever they want to call it," he said.
In Tatchell's view – apart from children's safety – another important consideration is "that we understand and accept the right of trans people to live their lives with dignity, respect and without living in fear." He noted that almost every day there are reports about people being murdered in the US or elsewhere. Tatchell said that "gender is a bit much more than physical bodily appendages. It is about genes, chromosomes, DNA and also according to new evidence about brain structures."
However, Jon Gaunt argued that "some people do not believe that and do not agree with that. And some people say this gender nonsense has to stop."
"What is happening at the moment with the 'militant' trans around the globe is that they are trying to dominate the agenda on every single subject. They are trying to make us all, whether we like it or not, accept trans women as if they are real women… [The] trans lobby needs to calm down a little bit, the 'militant' ones," Gaunt concluded.
Tatchell responded by saying that they only "lash out because they suffered so much," and their anger and even extremism is just the "cry of downtrodden people."
Watch the full debate here: