By Emily Smith
Assistant Opinion Editor
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Buffalo Public School board voted in favor of something amazing: the right for trans kids to use whichever bathroom suits their gender identity. This policy, favored 8-1 by the board members, will allow students who don’t identify as the gender they were assigned at birth to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender. This is historic, amazing, and long overdue. However, there are still people in the community and on the board who have opposed this policy throughout its journey to becoming approved.
As my dedicated readers (hey, Mom, thanks for tuning in every week) already know, I am a super peaceful person. I value nonviolent protest over all, and will resort to intellectual debate to remedy basically any problem. However, I still get sucked into reading the Facebook comments about controversial issues. Why do I do this to myself? One minute, I’m excited over the implementation of a preferred name program, or an increase in the minimum wage, or a policy that genuinely helps people live fulfilling lives, and the next, I’m angry at Karl from Lancaster who still thinks there are only two genders. Although it’s frustrating beyond belief, it’s something that I have grown to expect. There’s always going to be a Karl writing Facebook comments about the degradation of society into chaos because marginalized people are being showed preferential option. There have been Karls from the beginning of time opposing substantial progress (sorry, by the way, if your name is Karl – nothing against you). Karl is the yin to my yang, and I accept that with only a small portion of hot rage.
What I cannot accept, however, are the elected officials who still oppose policies such as this one. Take, for example, the only member of the nine who voted against allowing the policy to pass: Carl P. Paladino.
You might recognize Paladino’s name from when he ran and lost against Andrew Cuomo for Governor of New York. Most recently, however, Paladino has been outspoken about his love and devotion to the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Even his blog is filled with a plethora of Trump support articles and absurd videos slamming Hillary Clinton. One of his latest posts, a video from October 4 titled “Why Donald Trump is your Only Choice for President,” is full of lies and slander for Trump and against Hillary. Furthermore, I’m almost positive that Trump is not the only choice, thank God.
In his argument against the transgender bathroom and locker room bill for Buffalo Public Schools, Paladino stated that “by adopting the policy, the district is in violation of public lewdness law,” as well as the fact that he thinks it “is promoting a child to go in front of another child of the opposite sex and show genitals.”
These arguments are no surprise, of course. There are the same ones that have been used since the issues of trans people using different bathrooms started. People, including Paladino, are convinced that children are pretending to be trans so that they can slip into the bathrooms of the opposite sex and stare at the genitals of individuals going to the bathroom. That sounds fair, right? Totally plausible? Many people seem to think so, since, as stated, that argument has been used since virtually the beginning of time.
However, does anyone remember when Trump was recorded talking about actually assaulting women? My question for Paladino, and for anyone who supports Trump while simultaneously arguing that trans people are trying to sexually assault people, is this: do you know how many holes your argument has? Have you ever thought, for two seconds, about the logical reasoning process of forming an airtight argument? Furthermore, do you understand the definition of the word “hypocrite?”
I’m not trying to throw shade at Carl J. Paladino, I am directly calling him and everyone of his kind out for hypocrisy, insensitivity, and stupidity. How’s this for peaceful protest?
On top of his hypocrisy, Paladino released his hateful statements almost immediately after a girl named Kay Emmons told the story of her friend who had committed suicide after his struggle with his trans identity to the school board of which he was a part. Paladino claims to care about the children of the Buffalo, and for their decency, but he obviously doesn’t care about the actual lives of the children whom he is claiming to protect. Paladino, if you actually care about the children in the Buffalo Public Schools, you should have voted for the betterment of the lives of the trans kids in your district. Shame on you.
Thankfully, Paladino did not have his way, and trans children are now going to be allowed to use whatever bathroom and locker room fit their gender identity. Sadly, this is not going to end the plights of trans students in school who have been historically ridiculed for their identity. However, this is such a good start.
What I know for certain is that in fifty years when trans rights have been fully realized, people like Paladino will have been standing on the wrong side of history. Society is not falling into chaos; we are making process towards the betterment and dignity of all human life. Those who don’t understand and support this cause are going to be left in the dust, right where they should be, away from the progress and behind the times. The policy voted on and approved by Buffalo Public Schools was historic and beautiful, and nobody will be able to convince those who have any bit of sense otherwise.