American school denies transgender student use of men's locker room

Dylan Vox | January 10, 2008

BOSTON — Getting harassed in the locker room may be considered just a part of growing up, but 20-year-old Ethan Santiago may not get the chance for that humiliation. The pre-op transsexual filed a discrimination lawsuit against Northern Essex Community College for not allowing him to shower in the men�s facility.

Physically, Ethan Santiago is still a woman, but for the last two years he has been living his life as a man. The Eagle Tribune reports he was born Elizabeth Santiago, but began undergoing hormone therapy and changed his name to make his body coincide with his mental gender.

While he dresses as a male and even uses the men�s bathroom, school administrators have denied him use of the men�s locker room for concerns that he might be attacked.

School spokesperson Ernie Greenslade explained: "The school�s top concern was to ensure that no student would be discriminated against, and that all students would feel safe and respected."

While the school�s concern seems might be understandable, Santiago insisted that he deserves the same rights as other students.

"I've never been beaten up," Santiago told the Eagle Tribune, "but I figure that some day I will probably be beaten up. That's a fact of life for me and I'm not afraid."

Santiago�s plight has gained support from The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, which is pressing for a bill before the State House that would offer greater protections for transgendered people in the workplace and in schools.

"I just want people to see me the way I see myself," Santiago told the Tribune.

Currently, the University�s policy has been upheld pending litigation. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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