A student-led group called Students Engaged in Advancing Texas (SEAT) is fighting back against Katy ISD’s new anti-trans policy. On Monday, Nov. 13, SEAT filed a formal discrimination complaint with the US Department of Education, citing Title IX violations and decrying the adverse effects of the policy on trans students. SEAT focuses on increasing youth visibility and participation in educational policy-making
As previously reported in the Hotline, this policy prohibits all district personnel from diagnosing or treating “gender dysphoria” or related mental health concerns, citing that district staff are not equipped to deal with these situations. It goes on to mention that the district will only recognize a student’s biological sex, using that as the basis for interscholastic athletic teams, determining which pronouns a student should use, and using district facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and more.
On top of all this, it bans the teaching of gender fluidity in the classroom. It goes as far as barring students from “borrowing” these materials from a teacher’s private collection or allowing teachers to provide outside resources for students struggling with gender identity or expression.
According to the Houston Landing, since August, 19 notifications have been sent out to parents informing them of their child identifying as transgender or requesting different names or pronouns at school. Even with expressed consent, the policy outlines that “the District cannot and will not compel District staff or other students to address or refer to students in any manner that would violate the speaker’s First Amendment rights.” This renders the notification of parents useless since Katy ISD cannot force anyone to adopt the parent’s or student’s wishes.
While the policy’s supporters claim it’s about informing parents, questions remain about how many parents were already aware of their child’s gender identity or if these students are being unwillingly outed. The impacts, however, are tangible: as the SEAT complaint points out, LGBTQ+ students feel less safe within their school environment.
As the number of notifications climbs, concerns will also grow. As SEAT follows through on this formal discrimination complaint, we will continue to monitor the situation and update. This policy has created a landscape of uncertainty for Katy ISD LGBTQ+ youth, however, this will not stop them from fighting against these controversial educational policies. Read more about the federal complaint from SEAT.