A Colorado school board member is facing criticism after she said that transgender students would need to be castrated before the student could use the school bathrooms that fit their gender identity.
KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colo. was the first to report on Delta County School Board member Katherine Svenson's comments about transgender students during an October meeting (Listen to audio of Svenson's comments above):
"I would like to pass out something that shows people what is going on in the rest of the country," Svenson said at the school board meeting. "Massachusetts and California have passed laws relating to calling a student, irrespective of his biological gender, letting him perform as the gender he thinks he is, or she is. I just want to emphasize: not in this district. Not until the plumbing's changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here."
Svenson refers to a groundbreaking bill recently signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown that allows transgender youth to use whatever bathroom and participate in whichever sports team they believe matches their gender identity.
When questioned about her controversial comments by KREX, Svenson was unapologetic.
“I don’t have a problem if some boys think they are girls, I’m just saying as long as they can impregnate a woman, they’re not going to go in the girls' locker-room,” she said.
Other Delta County school officials have said that they do not agree with Svenson's point of view on the issue.
On her district bio page, Svenson describes herself as the founder of an evangelical Christian ministry in northern India and volunteer teaches at a local Sunday School and Bible camp.
Back in June, Colorado's Civil Rights Division ruled in favor of a transgender students having the right to use the restroom for the gender that they identify as. The ruling involved the case of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, a suburban Colorado Springs girl who was prevented from using the girls' restroom at her school by school district officials.
Last year Vice President Joe Biden said that transgender discrimination is the "civil rights issue of our time," and transgender rights continues to be a new issue for school boards across the nation.
Seventeen states, including Colorado and the District of Columbia, now outlaw discrimination against transgendered people.