A Colorado school board member who found herself in hot water when she said that transgender students would need to be castrated before the student could use the school bathrooms that fit their gender identity is not backing down from that statement.
According to The Denver Post, Delta County School Board member Kathy Svenson said that she has no regrets and went further to say she doesn't believe in homosexuality or people that are transgender; rather, she believes they are simply confused.
"I was a tomboy growing up. I did a lot of boy things," Svenson said. "I'm lucky someone didn't try to tell me I should be a boy."
Svenson went on to say that she would like to start her own school where laws protecting the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender students wouldn't apply, The Denver Post reports.
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.
Messages left for Svenson about her statements were not immediately returned.
"One Colorado supports all transgender and gender non-conforming students being honest about who they are," said Jon Monteith, Communications Director of the state's leading LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, to The Huffington Post, "and that’s why we are committed to serving as a resource for educators, school staff and administrators across our state as they work to make our schools safer for all Colorado youth."
KREX-TV in Grand Junction, Colo. was the first to report on Svenson's remarks about transgender students during an October school board meeting (Listen to audio of Svenson's comments above or watch KREX-TV's interview with her below):
"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 was referring 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.
Other Delta County school officials have said that they do not agree with Svenson's point of view on the issue and that the school district would never discriminate against any students.
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 transgender people.