A transgender teacher in Wisconsin, Vica Steel, who formerly went by Mark “Vince” Busenbark wrote an open letter last month accusing his school of a “transphobic” bathroom policy.
Steel writes in an open letter to “Our Lives.”
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.
First: 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.
Second: In the 23 years I’ve been in the district, there has never been a complaint about women using the same bathrooms as their students. The fact that most people don’t know that women use the same bathrooms as girls should be proof enough that this is not, has not, and should not even be an issue.
Third: In January, I started using the same multi-stall bathroom as the women on my wing of my school. Yes students use that bathroom too. Women have used that bathroom for decades. No complaints. I used it. I am an open and out transgender woman. I fought decades with the trauma that our society laid on me. But I stood up and I came out, and yes, I used the bathroom because, seriously, can you just let us pee! Wiithin 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. The leaders enacting this policy refuse to see the transphobia in their action. This is where they cite safety and “hearing all stakeholders”.
Fourth: Just to be clear, if you didn’t know, our district does have a clear policy on transgender people and our bathrooms. Essentially it says that MMSD supports the right of people to use the bathroom most appropriate to their gender identity. And, if a student or a family feels that they don’t want to use the same bathroom, then a plan is made for the transphobic individuals to use a separate facility.
Fifth: We do have All-Gender bathrooms in all of our schools now. They are not always easily accessible or convenient. And they are specifically NOT “Transgender Bathrooms”. Every student can, and does, use the the All-Gender bathrooms for any reason because they are for All Genders.
Sixth: Now let’s come back to a couple points that may have slipped by: “Hearing All Stakeholders.” Really? Since when has it been MMSD policy to give an ear to hate? Does our school district need to improve from the racist systems that inform funding and allocations? Absolutely. Look at where new schools have been built. Look at the packed buses and long bus routes that come to our overcrowded schools. Look at the allocations of specialists, where advanced learning or others that are equal in one sense, but not equitable. But when any person brings transphobia or homophobia or any other brand of hate to the table, it is absolutely necessary for our district leadership to stand firm against that fear and hate.
Read more here.
Vica Steel was in the news last year after giving a presentation to elementary school students on transgenderism without parent’s permission.
Last June, Fox News reported parents at an elementary school in Madison, Wis. are upset officials allowed a science teacher to give a presentation on transgenderism without parents’ permission.
A religious liberty group claims the teacher violated district policy and the constitutional prohibition against schools enforcing any kind of “orthodoxy.”
Liberty Counsel, a religious liberty law firm, sent a records request to the school alleging a teacher, who goes by “Vica Steel,” formerly Mark “Vince” Busenbark, showed a “transgender coming out” video to Frank Allis Elementary School students in K-5th grade on May 16.
Steel said the purpose of the video was “so [students] can know who I am and who I am becoming,” and the people who disagree are motivated by “fear” and “hate.” The teacher read a book to the children titled, “They Call Me Mix.” The book includes the statements, “‘BOY or GIRL?’ Are you a boy or a girl? How can you be both? Some days I am both. Some days I am neither. Most days I am everything in between.”
The book also states, “As a kid, I never felt like just a girl. I never felt right knowing everyone was deciding and agreeing that I was a girl.”
Instead, of Mr. or Mrs., Steel asks students to use “Mx.”
“And now, let me introduce myself, anew…. I am going to take my wife, Stella Steel’s last name, and I am going to use, not mister, not miss, but ‘mix.’ So you can call me, ‘Mix Steel.’.. And for my pronouns, you can call me ‘they,’ ‘them,’ and ‘their.’”
You can watch the video here.