Pride group voices their support for proposed LGBTQIA guidelines

KEWEENAW — While the Michigan Department of Education mulls over proposed guidelines for providing a safe environment for LGBTQ students, many residents are voicing their opinion on whether this is good for schools.

All Gender RestroomOne of those voices comes from the group of students that these guidelines are designed to help.

Michigan Tech student Leo Reichstetter is a spokesperson for Keweenaw Pride, the local LGBTQIA organization. He’s also transgender.

Reichstetter says there’s only one group of people who really need to be afraid to use the restroom.

“In every city that there’s been an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting people’s rights to use the bathroom,” said Reichstetter, “there hasn’t been a single reported case of trans people attacking someone in the bathroom, but there’s been many cases of not-trans people who have attacked trans people in bathrooms, it doesn’t matter which bathroom they’re in.”

Part of the proposal would allow transgender students to choose which locker rooms and restrooms they will use.

Reichstetter says that would solve a problem he and others like him have faced their whole lives.

Reichstetter said, “My first year at Michigan Tech, I didn’t use a single bathroom on campus because I was afraid of being attacked. In high school, I would find the loneliest bathroom. In public places, I always found bathrooms that are kind of off to the side, maybe single stall bathrooms. And I think really that’s just not fair, because everybody has to pee at some point during the day, and for me to have to go out of my way to find somewhere where I think I might be less likely to be attacked while I’m literally using the restroom and washing my hands is kind of ridiculous.”

State Senator Tom Casperson has said he will propose legislation establishing alternative restroom choices for transgender students, a move which Reichstetter argues sets a policy of “separate but equal”.