Bethany Abramson 0

Audrey Boytim's Gender Marker in Howard County Public School Systems

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Audrey Boytim is a transgender senior at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Maryland. After months of struggling with the Howard County Board of Ed, her name was finally changed from her birthname in the system, meaning the correct name Audrey is now listed on her report cards and other official HCPSS documents.

However, they are refusing to change her gender marker from M to F, saying that she needs to have gone through sex reassignment surgery in order to be officially considered female, despite her having started HRT (hormone replacement therapy) over three months ago. She also has her parents' full permission to change her gender marker, and the school is still not allowing it.

According to the Standards section of HCPSS Policy 9020 on Student's Rights and Responsibilities in subsection B: Safe and Supportive Environment, (found here: "students have the right to learn in a safe and supportive environment that fosters hope, engagement, and well-being for all." By refusing to change Audrey's gender marker in their system, HCPSS is denying Audrey the right to learn in an environment that is supportive of her gender and confirms her safety from the harassment of other students. As a senior, Audrey is already extremely stressed with her workload and upcoming end-of-the-year events, including prom and graduation. No student deserves the added on stress of questioning whether or not her school and county will support her with something as simple as her gender.

This petition is to the administration of Wilde Lake High School and the Howard County Board of Education so that Audrey's correct gender may officially be recognized by her classmates, teachers, and school, and so that she doesn't face as much discrimination as she would without her gender and pronouns being changed. We demand that her gender marker be changed from M to F and that the school administration enforce her teachers using feminine pronouns.

I would also like to extend this petition on the behalf of every trans student in the Howard County Public School System. I personally have heard stories about how other schools in Howard illegally discriminate against trans students because of their gender, and how it causes them stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Just like Audrey, no student deserves the stress of questioning whether their school and county will support them with something as simple as their gender.

UPDATE 3/17: I removed the section about Audrey's pronouns as we were both informed that her teachers will now be encouraged to use feminine pronouns when referring to her. I also added more information to support our argument of why she deserves to have her gender marker changed and expanded the petition to include the rights of trans students anywhere in Howard County.

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