A college student from Massachusetts has been barred from using the men's locker room because school administrators are concerned that he might be attacked. Physically, 20-year-old Ethan Santiago is a woman, but he says that he identifies as a man, reports local newspaper The Eagle-Tribune. So strong is his male gender identity that, while he understands the school's concerns for his safety, Santiago is not satisfied with the decision, and has lodged a complaint, saying that the school is discriminating against transgendered students like himself. As for the safety issue, Santiago says "I figure that some day I will probably be beaten up. "That's a fact of life for me, and I'm not afraid," he adds. The Eagle-Tribune reported that Ethan changed his name from Elizabeth two years ago, and has dressed and lived as a man since then, using the men's room and undergoing hormone therapy. "I just want people to see me that way I see myself," Santiago said, citing a desire for facial hair. But the school saw it differently, with one of the deans, Nita Lamborghini, turning down Santiago's request. School spokesperson Ernie Greenslade said, "The school's top concern was to ensure that no student would be discriminated against, and that all students would feel safe and respected. "How to accommodate transgendered students is an issue that is being discussed nationwide among student affairs professionals." Greenslade said that some schools choose to provide students with unisex restrooms as one means of dealing with the issue. But the article reported that Santiago said he did not feel comfortable having to use the women's locker room. The disgreement with the school is the latest in a series of personal adjustments, the article reported; Santiago had been asked to be bridesmaid at his sister's wedding, and had to decline. Also, since announcing his gender identity two years ago, many of his old friends have dropped out of his life. The article also reported on a Superior Court ruling from 2001; in that case, a fourth-grade elementary school student had determined that he was a boy, despite having the body of a girl. The Plymouth Superior Court found that the young student's school would have to accommodate him as a boy.
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Tuesday, 18th December 2007 - 4:51pm
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