Colo. School Board Member: No Trans Bathroom Access 'Until the Plumbing's Changed'

By Nicholas Cimarusti

Originally published on Advocate.com November 22 2013 6:54 PM ET

A school board member in southern Colorado has sparked controversy with her statements refusing to recognize the equal rights of transgender students, even though the state requires that such students be granted access to the facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Delta County School Board member Katherine Svenson publicly stated at an October meeting that she does not support students' rights to use the restroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity, reports NewsChannel 5.

In light of a recent law in California granting transgender students certain rights, Svenson said, "I just want to emphasize — not in this district. Not until the plumbing's changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here."

Svenson's statement directly contradicts a June ruling from the Colorado Civil Rights Division that declared transgender students must be permitted to use the school facilities that correspond with their gender identity. Since 2008, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act has prohibited gender identity-based discrimination in public accommodation.

Delta County district officials said they respect Svenson's opinion, but do not necessarily agree with it. When questioned whether the school district supports Svenson's stance, assistant superintendent Kurt Clay said, "Absolutely not, I mean that's an opinion of hers. We truly believe in Delta County School District that every student has different needs, and that we are here to address those individual needs."

Despite Clay's diplomacy, Svenson appears to be immovable in her opinion. "I don't have a problem if some boys think they are girls, I'm just saying as long as they can impregnate a woman, they're not going to go in girls locker room," Svenson said.