By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com October 25 2013 3:10 PM ET
The transgender teenager in Colorado who was non-consensually thrown into the spotlight when the anti-LGBT Christian group the Pacific Justice Institute published a false story — including the teenager's name — claiming that she was "harassing" cisgender (non-trans) students in her high school bathroom is now on suicide watch, according to a report from trans activist and blogger Cristan Williams.
Writing at her blog TransAdvocate, Williams was the one of the first reporters to directly contact Florence High School in Florence, Colo., where the trans teen, identified in responsible media reports as Jane Doe because she's a minor, attends school.
When Williams spoke with the school's superintendent, the administrator confirmed that Doe had not been reported as harassing other students, and that the PJI's claim was based on "one parent basically bringing their viewpoint about this situation to the media because they weren't getting the responses that they hoped they would get from the district, from parents of students at the high school, or from the board and [superintendent Rhonda Vendetti]."
After the factual errors and unscrupulous reporting in PJI's "harassment" claim emerged, the California-based institution amended its complaint to contend that the teenager was "inherently harassing" cisgender students by using the same bathroom as her fellow female classmates.
Williams also spoke with Doe's mothers earlier this week, who revealed that their daughter — who they describe as shy and quiet — was struggling with the unwanted attention PJI's story invited, including calls for the teenager to be put to death.
After the supposed harassment was debunked, however, PJI continues to harass the transgender student, misgendering her and claiming that her trans identity amounts to nothing more than "unhealthy behavior."
Williams spoke with PJI's staff attorney Matthew McReynolds, and provided audio clips from Doe's mother and other Florence parents who were supportive of the trans teen's right to use the bathroom that corresponds with her gender. Williams directly asked McReynolds if he and his organization valued the life of Jane Doe, to which McReynolds offered a dismissive response.
Asked if PJI valued Doe's life, McReynolds replied, "Oh absolutely. I think that’s a point we can all agree on, and we have very different approaches. What we believe, you know, the health and wellbeing of kids who are in this situation entails, and so from our perspective, you don’t lead to healthier outcomes by enabling potentially unhealthy behavior and so that’s where we, you know, our paths diverge."
Today, Williams reported that the PJI is complaining that school administrators announced that they've asked police to monitor the social media of those filing complaints against Jane Doe.
"It is increasingly apparent that school officials and LGBT activists are on an all-out mission to discredit our clients rather than deal with the serious problems they have identified with a biologically teenage boy sharing bathrooms with their teenage daughters," reads PJI's latest press release. "These new developments only stiffen our resolve and renew our focus to seek a balanced solution that honors the rights and needs of all students."