On Wednesday the 23rd of November, 2022, a judge with the Dane County Circuit Court dismissed a case that would have changed the policy of Madison Metropolitan School District to one that forces teachers and staff to disclose a student’s change in pronouns or names to their families without their consent, similar to the change that happened on October 10th in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Right now, MMSD’s policy is that teachers and administrators do not disclose this information to parents, instead leaving that information up to the student themselves to disclose or not.
According to the ACLU Wisconsin news brief, “The guidance, which advises school officials not to disclose a student’s change in pronouns or names without the student’s consent, was challenged in 2020 by several anonymous parents. The one remaining plaintiff in the case, represented by conservative legal groups Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom, admitted she had no reason to think her child was likely to change their name or pronouns.”
Policy changes like the one proposed are a danger to trans and queer youth, who disproportionally face abuse, homelessness, and suicide, according to an amicus brief filed by a group of psychologists. According to them, “approximately one-third of transgender youth are rejected by their families after disclosing their identity.”
Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU in Wisconsin continues “MMSD’s guidance protects the safety and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-expansive students by respecting their decision to not immediately share their use of different names or pronouns with parents who may be hostile toward the LGBTQ+ community. Given the disturbing rise in animosity and bigotry explicitly directed at transgender and other LGBTQIA+ youth, preserving MMSD’s guidance against forced outings is more vital than ever.”