Just when you think it couldn’t get any crazier, it does. And then you find yourself wondering how anything still manages to surprise you.
Think a girl deciding she's a boy is complicated and confusing? Meet 12-year-old Junior White, a student at Berrendos Middle School in Red Bluff, California. White, who was born a girl, played on the boy’s basketball team. But she’s not transgender.
Well, not entirely. Kinda. She’s not sure.
White is “gender-fluid,” meaning that she identifies as both a girl and a boy, and goes by both male and female pronouns. But it didn’t start there. According to this, White “came out” to her parents this past summer as a “gay boy.”
A little while later, though, White started “questioning his gender identity and identifying more and more as a girl.” Despite this, White still wanted to play on the boys’ teams, and began identifying as a non-committal “gender-fluid,” instead.
According to White and her supporters, this arrangement basically means White can operate however she wants, in whichever sphere she wants, and no one can stop her. She can pick whichever bathrooms she feels comfortable in, other students be damned. She can pick whichever sports team she wants to play on regardless of the school’s gender rules, and no one can say a word because that’s just how she’s identifying that day.
But the school begs to differ, and for good reason. After White began identifying as a boy, the school O.K.’ed her using the boys’ bathrooms and playing on the boys’ basketball team. Because, California.
But after White began saying she indentified more and more as a girl, she asked to use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms in school instead, saying she was more comfortable there – which by all logic makes sense, seeing as she's a 12-year-old girl.
The school was happy to oblige, but told White she was no longer eligible to play on the boy’s basketball team if she was no longer identifying as a boy.
Now, White’s parents and supporters are in an all-out battle with the school (whose poor administrators are probably ridiculously confused at this point) because they say White should be allowed to use whatever bathroom she wants, go by whatever pronoun she wants, and play on whatever team she wants, even if they don’t correspond to the same gender and regardless of the rules laid down for other students. They point to AB 1266, a law enacted in California in 2013, which says a student must be allowed to join whatever sports team corresponds with their preferred gender.
It doesn't, however, stipulate that your preferred gender on the court has to match the gender of the locker room you want to use.
Basically, no rules for White, because she’s a very confused child whose supporters would rather use her as a political prop than get her the help she clearly needs.
Welcome to 2018.