After The TransAdvocate's Cristan Williams fact checked a false story claiming that a transgender student in Colorado was harassing her peers in a high school bathroom, the anti-trans Pacific Justice Institute is continuing to uphold their fabricated claims, and other anti-trans groups are using them to support a harmful campaign against transgender students in California. Now, the parents of the transgender student, whose name has remained anonymous for her safety, are speaking out about the false claims made against her. The student's mother spoke with the TransAdvocate, saying:
"I know how precious everybody's kids are to them, and they have to understand that it's been a lot of hurt to see so much hatred directed at my daughter. She's just trying to be a normal teenager and go on with life. It hurts her and hurts us as a family, and we're trying our best to be here to support her and to be here for her. And if anything, I think it's going to make us stronger because we're here to fight for what we believe is right, and for her to be who she wants to be, and for her to be happy as who she is, and not be afraid of who she is."
The student's father also noted that the family had not heard about any of the complaints being lodged against their daughter until receiving a call from the school principle, who said a newscaster had arrived wanting to interview their daughter about her "bathroom rights." Interviews led by Cristan, both with a Florence High School official and a spokesperson from the Pacific Justice Institute, have not only exposed the lack of harassment occurring at the school, but also suggest the PJI never attempted to substantiate the claims made against the transgender student before moving forward with an international media campaign against her.
Unfortunately, the holes in PJI's story have not stopped anti-trans activists in California from using it to support a campaign to repeal AB 1266, a law that will allow transgender students in the state to participate in activities and access facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. The law will take effect January 1, but if opponents of the law gather enough signatures by November 8, it will be put up for a vote.
GLAAD urges journalists covering either the story of the transgender student in Colorado or California's AB 1266 to scrutinize the mythic claims made by anti-trans activists about transgender youth, especially as the Pacific Justice Institute continues to promote its unsubstantiated harassment story.