Mum of 11-year-old at centre of trans bathroom ban case speaks out: ‘She’s just a person’

Stock photo of young girls at school

A Wisconsin mother who won a restraining order against her trans daughter’s school after she was banned from using the correct bathroom says the damage has already been done.

On 6 July, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to an 11-year-old trans girl, named only as Jane Doe #1, and her mum against the Mukwonago Area School District in Wisconsin. 

The ruling blocks the school’s policy that requires trans students to use only bathrooms and other facilities that match the gender they were assigned at birth, or other gender-neutral facilities.

US District judge Lynn Adelman said the policy caused the young girl to “experience emotional and mental harms”, and that she would “suffer significant harm” without the temporary order.

It was an important legal victory for the girl’s mother, named only as Jane Doe #2 in the lawsuit. But, as she tells PinkNews, the situation remains toxic.

In defending her child, she’s been accused her of “forcing something” on her daughter, and labelled a “child abuser” or “paedophile”.

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“It’s laughable to me because this is just who she is,” she says.

Wisconsin trans girl knew who she was by age three

Despite claims made by transphobes that trans children are being “groomed” into their identity, the young girl at the centre of the case knew who she was from an early age.

As her mother explains, she made it “abundantly clear” by the time she was three that “she was built wrong”, and she socially transitioned by first grade. 

“This was something that happened very early on, and I was really glad it did because my child had lost her glimmer,” she says. 

“You see little kids that are outside, they’re excited, everything is amazing and cool, and ‘look at this bug’ and ‘I found this bug’ and they’re very vivacious – and that is not what I had happening with my child. I had a child that – if dressed in boy’s clothes – wasn’t smiling, wasn’t playful. 

“We put on a Doc McStuffins t-shirt and a shirt; the smile came back, and they were skipping through the yard and playing.”

After coming out, the girl became the victim of bullying. The family eventually moved, something the mother says gave her daughter a “revitalising” new start.

Since she started attending Prairie View Elementary School in third grade, her daughter (now an incoming sixth grade student) has used the girls’ bathroom and been treated like other girls.

A person holds up a sign reading "stalls for all" during a demonstration for the LGBTQ+ and trans communities against trans bathroom bans and anti-trans legislation
Despite a legal victory, a mum tells PinkNews that it’s “upsetting” to see how anti-trans policies, like her school district’s bathroom ban, affect her trans daughter. (Getty)

“Everything was great”, the mother says, until the school district unanimously approved its anti-trans bathroom policy on 26 June

As a result, school officials began monitoring her bathroom visits and forced her to use different facilities at Mukwonago High School, where she was taking summer school classes.

Court documents show that the girl sent an email to her mother after being pulled aside by school staff and told she needed to use the “boys’ bathroom or a gender-neutral restroom”.

She told her mother that she needed to “come home” because she was “trying to hold back [her] emotions”. 

“To see how all of this is affecting that glimmer again is really upsetting,” says her mother.

“To see that because the adults in the room can’t get it together, that it’s dulling an 11-year-old child is really upsetting. 

“To listen to the stories and you know, ‘Mom, this happened today. And this bully and this adult.’ That’s just really disheartening, and it’s tragic. 

“You’re seeing a child who knows who she is just deflate because the adults around her refuse to just accept that she is who she is.”

In response to the ruling, superintendent Joe Koch Koch said the Mukwonago Area School District will continue to defend its anti-trans bathroom policy in the “interest of protecting the safety, privacy and wellness of all students”.

Trans rights and bathroom access are hot button issues in the US

Republican state legislators across the country are pushing forward a wave of proposals that specifically attack the rights of LGBTQ+ and trans folks.

In 2016, North Carolina was thrust into the spotlight when it became the first state to pass a trans bathroom ban. Recently, IdahoIowa and Florida have introduced their own bathroom bills into law.   

While many claim to defend the ‘safety’ of women, children and school pupils, these bathroom bans directly target trans people – often students and young people – by restricting their ability to use restrooms, locker rooms and other gender-segregated facilities. 

The girl’s mother says there’s a “lot of ignorance” at the heart of bathroom bans.

“I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense,” she says.

“Ignorance is just stating it’s a lack of education. That’s all it is. It’s a lack of education, and it’s something that’s unknown and unfamiliar.”

A person holds up a sign reading "trans is beautiful" during a demonstration in support of the trans community and lambasting anti-trans policies like bathroom bans, bans on gender-affirming healthcare and more
The mum of an 11-year-old trans daughter in Wisconsin says her child is ‘no different than the girls in her class’. (Getty)

Going into her legal battle, the mum hoped the school and others would recognise her daughter’s humanity. 

Her 11-year-old is “obsessed with softball” and has a pink batting helmet. She loves STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) because she wants to “know how things work”.

She is funny, loves makeup and high fashion but is “terrified of bugs”. 

But the school district has made clear they’re “committed to ensuring the privacy and safety of all students” except for hers, and now the bullying she faces has “gotten so much worse”. 

“She’s no different than the girls in her class, and she has the same interests and all of that,” the mum says. “Getting them to understand that she’s just a person versus she’s transgender, and it felt like it’s fallen on deaf ears.”

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