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October 14, 2013
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October 15, 2013

Trans Student Attacking Girls in School Restroom! Or, you know… not.

The push for radical transgender rights in schools is trumping privacy rights at one Colorado high school. A male student at Florence High School who claims to be a transgender has been harassing girls in the bathroom. When parents complained, school officials said the boy’s rights as a transgender trumped their daughters’ privacy rights.


Right wing news outlets are falling over themselves to bemoan the sad state of our public school system now that the law allows transgender students to attack and harass non-transgender girls in the restrooms. I want you to pause for a second and really consider how likely these right wing assertions are. Florence High School is supposedly part of a trans conspiracy to assault school girls in the restroom.

Apparently A LOT of people think this sounds likely because none of the reporters who are pushing this story are bothering to do any fact checking. They simply assume that what they’re repeating is accurate.

Or, as David McCain (@DavdMcCaine) “reported” for the examiner:Derp-David-McCaine

I challenged David about his facts and he admitted that he abdicated  his responsibility to conduct due diligence for a story concerning a trans kid. Let’s be honest here, this is a case where ADULTS are targeting a trans KID, asserting that the kid is predator. Apparently, for people like David, what he’s knowingly doing to this kid is acceptable as long as he has his juicy headline that plays well for his audience. (NOTE: David has since recanted his story and apologized to the trans youth)

At this point, it’s become an international story. Of course it has. It appeals to the trans-rapist/stalker-meme so beloved by the right wing. The fact is that this “news” was generated by a right wing organization that apparently doesn’t have an issue with targeting trans kids in their ideological war. (NOTE: The Daily Mail deleted their story after fact checking.)

Since none of these “news” sites were willing to actually do any fact checking, I took it upon myself to do it for them. Before you listen to the phone conversation me and school Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti, care to take a guess as to how accurate the international reports have been? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

In the interest of being honest about this issue, here’s what one female Florence High School student had to say about this:


To all the  David McCains out there, SHAME ON YOU! You utterly fail at humanity 101.

Ninety percent of transgender and gender nonconforming people report harassment, discrimination and mistreatment on the job, and the injustices they face have devastating economic and personal consequences, according to a new survey.


A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting  suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who were harassed/bullied in school (51%)… It is part of social and legal convention in the United States to discriminate against, ridicule, and abuse transgender and gender nonconforming people within foundational institutions such as the family, schools, the workplace and health care settings, every day. Instead of recognizing that the moral failure lies in society’s unwillingness to embrace different gender identities and expressions, society blames transgender and gender non-conforming people for bringing discrimination and violence on themselves.

2011 study of 6,450 trans people

Discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of transgender and gender variant individuals. For example, gender-based discrimination and victimization were found to be independently associated with attempted suicide in a population of transgender individuals, 32% of whom had histories of trying to kill themselves, and in the largest survey to date of gender variant and transgender people 41% reported attempting suicide.

The APA joins other organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, in endorsing strong policy statements deploring the discrimination experienced by gender variant and transgender individuals and calling for laws to protect their civil rights.

The American Psychiatric Association:

  1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals.
  2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant people.
  3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
  4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.

The American Psychiatric Association


UPDATE: 10/16/2013: PJI finally reveals the nature of the “harassment”


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Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.


  1. Grace Annam says:

    Recently, in another thread, RonF offered an opinion on trans people using bathrooms.
    I wrote a reply, and then decided that it was too far off-topic for that comment thread. So here it is in its own post.

    But a lot of people don’t want to have to share a bathroom with someone who is biologically not the same sex they are, and I don’t think it’s the province of the State to force them to have to.

    Good heavens! Of course not. You shouldn’t be forced to use a bathroom with someone who makes you uncomfortable! If you see a person in a bathroom whom you suspect to be trans, I think you have every right to not use that bathroom and to seek a different bathroom, or to use the private bathroom you keep in your home!
    Likewise, if someone is getting onto a subway car, and sees a trans person on the car, or they see you on the car, they have every right to wait for a different car. After all, during rush hour, they may well end up a lot closer to the trans person in that car, or to you, and for longer, than they will to anyone in a bathroom. (Yes, I know; their pants will be up, so they’ll be safe. I’m guessing you’ve never happened to be wearing an above-the-knee skirt in a subway car during rush hour. You might feel less safe. I certainly do.)
    What the State should not be able to do is use force to clear you out of the bathroom or the subway car in order to protect them from their discomfort at your proximity.
    It apparently baffles many people, especially conservatives, that trans people seem unable to understand that we make people uncomfortable. We’re well aware of it, and we probably understand it better than such people think. What baffles many trans people is the cis people who think that there’s Some Other Place for trans people to go. There’s not. If I were to go into the men’s room, there would be a lot of consternation. Men would object. If I walked in and checked my look in the mirror, a man using a urinal next to me would almost certainly feel uncomfortable and awkward. There’s a decent chance that I’d be assaulted. And then either I’d end up injured or dead, or, because I am who I am, he’d end up restrained and/or injured, and in either case my injuries or his injuries would be my fault because people would demand to know why I wasn’t in the women’s room.
    No matter what I choose, if anything goes wrong, I should have been in Some Other Place, and people would tell me that it’s my fault that I wasn’t.
    People wanting me to go to Some Other Place, when Some Other Place doesn’t actually exist, is people not wanting me not to exist. And if they use the power of the State to compel me to go Some Other Place which doesn’t exist, that’s using the power of the State to compel me not to exist, or to make life hard enough that maybe I’ll take care of that problem myself.
    That there’s no Other Place should, by itself, be sufficient. I have to go Some Place That Actually Exists. It doesn’t matter what cis people conjecture would happen when they picture their own personal bogeytranswoman in their minds and their imagined reaction to her. I can tell you, from actual lived experience, that my presence doesn’t alarm cis people. Those same cis people can’t tell you that from their experience, because they don’t know that they’ve shared a bathroom with a trans woman, because I don’t volunteer that I’m trans when I’m in the women’s room. But I know.
    But that’s passing privilege, because I can pass as cis. Leave it aside; it matters, but it shouldn’t. You know what should matter? My society has set aside a place where only women can go, and I’m a woman, so I go there. My society has set aside a place where only men can go, and I’m a woman, so I don’t go there.
    Some people in my society worry that I will assault women while I’m in women’s space. Trans women assaulting cis women in women’s spaces is a thing which basically doesn’t happen; people wanting to keep trans women out have had to resort to making incidents up. On the other hand, people assaulting trans women in women’s spaces has happened many times.
    (No doubt it will eventually happen, somewhere, sometime, that a trans woman assaults a cis woman in women’s space. And then it will leap from “never” to “staggeringly rare”.)
    Trans women aren’t assaulting cis women in women’s spaces. Cis people are giving themselves the heebie-jeebies over a thing which doesn’t happen.
    So here’s my question: why is this even my problem? Why do you want me to make sacrifices to pander to the groundless fears of other people? I don’t control any of this. I didn’t ask to be trans. I never wanted to be trans. I used to experience shame at being trans, but I don’t anymore, because I dug into that poison oak of fear and loathing, rooted out as much as I could, and planted healthy things where the fear and loathing used to grow. I had to do that, inside myself, to be at peace with myself. I’m still working on it, but mainly with regard to other issues. On trans issues, the bulk of it is done. It took a lot of work, but it was in my head, and so even though I didn’t put that stuff in there, it was my job to deal with it. The grief I get about being trans no longer comes from within. It comes from without, from other people who want me to carry their load.
    This discomfort which other people experience is not in my head. It’s in their heads. There’s no way for someone outside their head to edit its contents (and thank Heaven for that!). They have to do it themselves. And it takes hard work and humility and sometimes pain to root it out. It’s difficult. I know this, because I did it. But I can’t do it for other people. They have to do it for themselves. It’s in their heads.
    But many people are lazy and would rather impose on other people, hurt other people, than work on their own embedded prejudices. Which, okay, whatever. But it’s hard to have respect for lazy people.
    PS. I’m not a cyborg. I’m 100% biological. And the existing neurological evidence suggests that I’m female. So, the phrase “biologically the same sex” is just another attempt to set up a bulwark so that you can draw a line around “women” with me outside of it, without having to actually say it in so many words. It’s equivalent to saying that a civil union is just like a marriage, except for the name. But if there’s anything the debate taught us, it’s that in some meaningful way, a civil union is not a marriage; there was clearly a meaningful difference, or people wouldn’t have fought so hard to keep marriage heterosexual. Well, clearly, in some meaningful way, saying “not biologically a woman” is saying “not a woman”.
    Please. Stop drawing that line there. Surely your time could be spent more productively.
    Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrRedditEmail


  2. […] fabrication it was. A reporter named Cristan Williams did the legwork, and you can read her story here, with a followup here. The original “story” was first printed last October, and a […]

  3. […] target, The talented blogger and journalist Cristan Williams has debunked a number of completely fabricated stories of trans girls “harassing” other girls in high schools. Except it never happened. This […]

  4. […] and deceit…we seem to hear one lie after another after another from those who are on Privacy For All Students‘ side. Now it […]

  5. […] The school investigated if there was any truth to the harassment claim. There wasn’t. It’s a hoax. […]

  6. […] Trans Student Attacking Girls in School Restroom! Or, you know… not. by Cristan […]

  7. […] group2 that organized the effort to repeal AB 1266. PJI is the ex-gay group who recently bullied a Colorado trans kid to the brink of suicide. PFAS, worked tirelessly to paint trans children as […]

  8. […] Then there is the young girl who is currently being singled out by the Pacific Justice Institute. She has been pushed to the brink of suicide due to the lies being pushed by the organization. In fact, PJI went as far as to manufacture complaints about her harassing cis women in the locker room, which has been proven to be untrue. […]

  9. […] checking facts isn’t something journalists do anymore. Blogger Cristan Williams at Transadvocate picked up the baton, and quickly and rather easily debunked the story. It’s just a lie. There has been no […]

  10. […] Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is the ex-gay group who recently bullied a Colorado trans kid to the brink of suicide. At the same time, PJI was working to strip […]

  11. […] members of the right-wing community to call for the death of Jane Doe. While PJI’s claims were proven false, the public animosity PJI inspired by and focused on Jane took its toll. Jane Doe was placed on […]

  12. […] the implications for all of us.  During that discussion we mention the malicious attacks on a young trans girl by the conservative right wingers at the Pacific Justice […]

  13. […] it turned out, the claim was a hoax. Fox News failed to do what I did: simply call the school and do some fact checking. Instead, Fox […]

  14. […] claims, prompting some to call for the death of the trans kid. While PJI’s claims were proven false, the public animosity PJI inspired and aimed at Jane Doe took its toll. Jane Doe was placed on a […]

  15. […] The story was a lie and it was debunked as such, causing several publications to issue retractions or pull their reporting of the story. PJI tried to backtrack, attempting to claim that it was “merely” highlighting the fact that a transgender student was using the bathroom and putting other students’ privacy at risk. However, PJI continues to target the child, causing her to go on suicide watch. […]

  16. […] Then Cristan Williams of the Transadvocate fact checked PJI’s claims that a trans girl harassed cis girls in Florence High School girls bathrooms. In response to Williams’ queries to the high school, Rhonda Vendetti, the superintendent of schools for Florence High School, stated in an interview with Transadvocate: […]

  17. […] student had actively sexually harassed other girls. However Cristin Williams of The Transadvocate did some digging, and it very quickly came to light that this was a complete fabrication.  The school board had […]

  18. […] the implications for all of us.  During that discussion we mention the malicious attacks on a young trans girl by the conservative right wingers at the Pacific Justice […]

  19. […] in the above photo is a liar. She, like PJI, is apparently happy to lie to media outlets who have proven themselves more than willing to spread these lies without ever bothering to fact check their […]

  20. […] The allegations, after being picked up by Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, were quickly debunked by a transgender advocacy group that reached out to the school’s superintendent, who […]

  21. […] The allegations, after being picked up by Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, were quickly debunked by a transgender advocacy group that reached out to the school’s superintendent, who […]

  22. […] In an interview with The Transadvocate, a transgender advocate blog, School Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti claimed only one parent has complained about a transgender student using girls’ bathrooms: […]

  23. […] “This is one parent basically bringing their view point about this situation to the media because they weren’t getting the responses that they hoped they would get from parents, from students at the high school or from the board and myself, “said Florence High School Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti in an interview with The Transadvocate’s Cristan Williams, who uncovered the truth behind conservative media reports. […]

  24. […] Justice Institute (PJI). The PJI is the organization at the center of an international effort to malign one transgender kid. Last week, the PJI issued the right-wing community talking points for use in their fight for […]

  25. […] Justice Institute (PJI). The PJI is the organization at the center of an international effort to malign one transgender kid. Last week, the PJI issued the right-wing community talking points for use in their fight for […]

  26. […] Justice Institute (PJI). The PJI is the organization at the center of an international effort to malign one transgender kid. Last week, the PJI issued the right-wing community talking points for use in their fight for […]

  27. […] Trans Student Attacking Girls in School Restroom! Or, you know… not. Rumors of harassment were greatly exaggerated. […]

  28. […] same lack of details. But Cristan Williams of The Transadvocate thought the story was fishy, so she took it upon herself to talk to Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti herself and discovered some interesting facts about the […]

  29. […] story, exposed by the TransAdvocate as a lie concocted by right wing ideologues, elicited the following responses from the Daily Mail […]

  30. […] The story has been picked up by media outlets uncritically, without fact-checking the  source; something even the original reported failed to do. This gap was finally filled by blogger Cristan on the website Transadvocate. […]

  31. Kinsey Hope says:

    Hey would it be possible to get a text transcript of the interview? That way folks who use screenreaders or are hearing impaired can hear the interview with the Superintendent.

  32. Zoe Brain says:

    The Daily Mail in the UK has committed libel under UK laws, if not US ones. A formal complaint to the Press Council is in order. I’ll see what can be done there.

    • Cristan says:

      Yes, I made a complaint earlier today.

      You can complain here:

      Specifically, this Daily Mail story violated the following standards:

      1i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

      They made no attempt at all to fact check. They simply repeated some hate propaganda from an anti-trans organization.

      6i) Young people should be free to complete their time at school without unnecessary intrusion.

      There’s only one trans student in this High School. They are easily identifiable and the Daily Mail is assisting an anti-trans organization target this kid.

  33. ….So how do we do like a class action lawsuit against the bigoted news agencies?
    It wouldn’t be difficult to show damages to the entire community.

  34. Don’t adults who knowing make false allegations about kids that place the kids at risk have to worry about child endangerment charges? It sounds like they didn’t even bother to try and check the story out – but just made things up.

    No first amendment protections when you yell fire fire in a crowded theater. Especially when you know you’re putting a kid at risk of harm.

    I hope they have good insurance.

  35. As a fellow transgender woman, I must say thank you. I am grateful that somebody is willing to stand up and actually ask the right questions. Thank you so much.

  36. Lila Redden says:

    Unfortunately this has now been reposted by Foxnation as well >.<

  37. Karla Bello says:

    Sounds like you must be going through a hard time. I am glad some one was able to check the facts and get the truth out there. I m here to offer support in any way I can.

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