Anxiety, Fear Among Oklahoma LGBT Community After Bathroom Order

Thursday, February 23rd 2017, 11:29 pm
By: Grant Hermes

After guidelines from President Barack Obama saying schools should allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice was rolled back, familiar fears have begun to rise for transgender students and their parents.

Parents like Vicki and Ryan Cocklin whose daughter Sagen, 23, came out to them when she was 19.

“As a parent, it is something now that I have to be concerned that they may be bothered with and they have the right to go to the bathroom they identify with,” Vicki said. “They just want to go to the bathroom.”

The roll back order, signed Wednesday, sent Oklahoma LGBT groups into action. Calling school districts to see whether students might be in danger.

“Most schools that we've talked to in Oklahoma have been using the best practices,” Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson said. Freedom Oklahoma is an LGBT rights group.

According to Freedom Oklahoma, roughly ten school districts don't have anti-discrimination policies. Others like Tulsa schools, have specific policies surrounding the treatment of trans students. Oklahoma City Public Schools did not return a request for comment, but the district does have a broad anti-discrimination policy.

But the worry for trans students still lingers.

“When they are forced to use a restroom that's different than  the one their friends go to that's when questions get asked and then it becomes something that they get bullied for or they get stigmatized for,” Stevenson said.

In the end, for folks like the Cocklins the issue is simple, no matter what happens in Washington a little kindness goes long way.

“It's when we make such a big deal of out everything,” Ryan Cocklin said. “It's just be kind to every kid. If you have a transgender kid, just be kind to them.”