By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com October 21 2013 1:55 PM ET
The mother of a transgender teenager in Colorado who was targeted by right-wing groups with allegations that her daughter's usage of the women's restroom constituted "harassment" is speaking out for the first time, and standing by her daughter.
The woman, who is married to another woman, told trans activist and blogger Cristan Williams that the first time the family learned about the alleged harassment was through a phone call from their daughter's principal after media crews showed up on campus.
"My wife and I were visiting my sister who was in the hospital while my daughter was in school," the mother tells Williams. "The principal called to inform me that a newscaster was at the school and wanted to interview me about my daughter’s ‘bathroom rights’ — this was the first I’d heard about any of this. From what I understand, the school didn’t even know. From what I was told, some adults tried to hold a rally protesting my daughter in a town close to ours, but only a couple of people showed up, so the news crew went to the school and the school called me to say that the news crew was showing up to talk about my daughter."
Like any good parent, the mother immediately headed to the school to support her daughter, who has been identified in responsible media reports only as Jane Doe, since she is a minor.
"I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew they were coming for my daughter," said Doe's mother. "I had no idea who started this, but we had we had to be there. I know my daughter. She’s a shy and timid person. It was upsetting. As a matter of fact, before we moved to this town, she was afraid that she would be bullied at school. She had a fear that if she went to this new school, something would happen and she wouldn’t be safe."
The Pacific Justice Institute, which works against LGBT rights, originally publicized a poorly researched and vague "report" last week claiming that a transgender student at Florence High School was harassing cisgender (nontrans) students in the girls' bathroom. The story — which offered no statement from the school or formal confirmation of any recorded harassment — was then picked up by several conservative media outlets, including Fox News.
But when TransAdvocate blogger Cristan Williams contacted administrators at Florence High, they confirmed that there were no reported incidents of harassment. Williams has published audio of her conversations with the school and with Doe's mother at her blog TransAdvocate.
After the truth came to light that no "harassment" occurred and the report was from a lone parent who feared this kind of "harassment" might take place, the antigay PJI clarified its complaint by alleging that the mere presence of a transgender girl in the girl's bathroom constituted harassment against the cisgender students.