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Delaware Stonewall PAC, a non-partisan political organization whose purpose is the promotion of the rights of LGBT Delawareans applauds Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of Education for its rejection of the most recent iteration of a Regulation originally introduced to protect LGBT students, but ending up as one that probably would have done more harm to children confronting their gender identity.

Numerous studies have shown that forcing a child to come out to parents who may not tolerate or understand their child’s personal identity, will cause depression, self-hatred, or sadly a life cut short. Nevertheless, the proposed regulation required parental notification of a child’s change of self-identified gender.
In our submitted comment, we proposed that the regulation allow a school-appointed professional to ascertain whether or not the desired change of status is genuine and well-founded, in cases where the child believed notification of a parent would be harmful to the child.

Stonewall is pleased that Governor Carney professes a strong belief that students need to be protected, and we are confident that he will work with the State Board of Education, the Attorney General’s office and the State Legislature to assure that the health and safety of students identifying as transgender are protected. We will continue our work to assure that this happens.

We urge our members to oppose the newest version of Delaware Department of Education Regulation 225 on transgender student protections and send comments to the Department at DOEregulations.comment@doe.k12.de.us or mail to Tina Shockley, Department of Education, 401 Federal St., Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901.  The deadline for submission is July 6.

Delaware Stonewall is a political organization created to promote the rights of LGBT Delawareans. In addition to other laws passed since 2009, Stonewall was involved in the enactment of Gender Identity Protections that are a subject of the proposed amendments to DOE Regulation 225.

Delaware Stonewall appreciated the hard work and good intentions that led to the earlier proposed amendments to this regulation and recognize the same in the latest proposed amendment. Realizing that the DOE received over 1,000 comments, many from out of State, on the original proposed amendment, and assuming there will be a similarly high number of comments now, we will limit our comment to the specific areas affecting the rights and protection of students who desire to be identified as their personal gender identity.

Section 1.1 prohibits discrimination and exclusion of students based on that gender identity. However, proposed section 3.0 requires a student to agree to parental notification and parental assent before the request to have gender identity changes recognized. This section further states that a student’s request for this recognition will be denied without the student’s assent to parental notification. While the respect for the parental right to be informed and to assent to a major change at school for their child is understandable in an ideal world. This is not such a world, especially for children struggling with their realized gender identity and seeking to be recognized for who they really are…and to be the recipients of equal treatment and respect. For such children, this is not a world where all children have understanding parents who support the child’s desire to live at school recognized as a member of the gender they realize they are, no matter what was assigned at birth or what physical characteristic may say otherwise.

Requiring that child to “come out” to a parent may subject that child to emotional or physical abuse, or both. This abuse and the fear of such abuse force too many to suppress their identity for years, all too often resulting in a life of depression and self- hatred, or, sadly, a life cut short.

Delaware Stonewall wants to protect these children and recommends that this section be further amended to allow a student to reject parental notification and consent if they fear parental rejection or show other compelling reason and to create a mechanism where that child can make a case to a school-appointed professional who can ascertain the whether or not the desired change of status is genuine and well-founded.

Respectfully,

Peter Schott, President
Email: info@DelawareStonewall.org

Download the PAC 225 statement PDF

While the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats have applauded the actions of Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart in issuing a Bulletin to health insurance companies stating that those insurers are expected to cover medical expenses for insured individuals seeking treatment for gender transition services, BGDSD is concerned that this action is inadequate

Governor Markell signed into law Gender Identity protections on June 19, 2013. A Statute creates standards and rules. An administrative agency is empowered with advertising and adopting Regulations which set out a process of monitoring and enforcing a statute. Regulations have the force of law. Instead of promulgating a regulation, Commissioner Karen Weldon Stewart issued a Bulletin. A Bulletin is merely a statement of what the administrative agency believes the law requires. It is not enforceable. It does not create a method for insurers to report compliance with the law. In reality it will not help Delaware policy holders seeking medical treatment.

A possibly even greater concern is the Department of Insurance regulates only health insurance policies issued in Delaware. The DOI does not regulate individuals whose employers are self-insured. As an example, the State of Delaware is self-insured. Even a well-meaning Bulletin does not govern, and the DOI cannot require, that the State of Delaware provide coverage for its employees (including teachers and law enforcement officers who are covered by the State Plan). The only vehicle for providing such coverage for state employees is adding that coverage to the state plan. Such an addition must be made by the State Benefits Committee. Commissioner Stewart is a voting member of that committee.

The BGDSD asks Commissioner Stewart why she has not proposed that state employees be covered if she truly believes that transgender Delawareans should have insurance that pays for transition-related medical care?

Delaware Stonewall PAC is a non-partisan political organization whose purpose is the promotion of the rights of LGBT Delawareans.

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