Stephanie Vigil, a queer Colorado state legislator, flipped her district from Republican to Democrat. Now, she’s ready to make some other changes.
While the GOP has launched repeated attacks on transgender students nationwide, a local effort to prevent teachers from asking a teenager about their preferred pronouns has spawned a response from Vigil.
She’s introduced a bill requiring teachers to use a student’s preferred name in the classroom. Deadnaming a trans student would be considered discrimination.
“Making sure that we can create space for them to be seen and heard as their true self is very important,” said Nadine Bridges, the executive director of One Colorado, told the local news after the bill was introduced. “It’s a great opportunity to kind of create equity and inclusion in schools.”
A controversial effort by a school board that would have prevented school staff from accommodating trans students was ultimately defeated after students, parents, and activists objected.
“I’m kind of old-fashioned,” one school board member said at the time. “I know a boy when I see one, and I know a girl when I see one.”
The board has reservations about the proposed law too, insisting that “parents are responsible for determining the upbringing, education, care, and moral development of their child.”
“Parents do have the right, for their specific child, to make whatever decisions they deem best for that young person,” Bridges said. “They do not have the right to make decisions for every student that attends a charter school or a public school.”
“We’re talking about pronouns and names and making sure that a young person can be seen as their authentic selves. Why wouldn’t anybody want to create space for that?”
The bill would also create a task force to “examine existing school policies and provide recommendations to schools on how to best implement student non-legal name change policies.”