Comfort, communication -- and the lack of both | Around the Valley | Gina Channell Wilcox | |

Local Blogs

Around the Valley

By Gina Channell Wilcox

E-mail Gina Channell Wilcox

About this blog: I've been involved in news media for more than 30 years in a number of roles in the newsroom ? from editorial assistant to "cops" reporter to executive editor. Currently I am the president and publisher of Embarcadero Media Group'...  (More)

View all posts from Gina Channell Wilcox

Comfort, communication -- and the lack of both

Uploaded: Sep 17, 2022
Danielle Solito was justifiably upset when she spoke about her daughter’s “extremely uncomfortable” experience at school.

Solito said her 15-year-old daughter and her friends felt ill at ease when they went to change in the locker room at San Ramon Valley High School and, according to her daughter, “there was a person who was definitely not a girl changing in the girls locker room.”

Solito continued that her daughter was told this person identifies as a girl, but “she was able to see they were, in fact, anatomically a boy.”

The discomfort has nothing to do with how anyone chooses to identify, Solito assured, but has everything to do with being a teenage girl.

“My daughter is kind to everyone and doesn’t have a discriminatory bone in her body. But she is a 15-year-old girl who is self conscious,” she explained. “Being a 15-year-old girl, you don’t want to change in front of 15-year-old girls, let alone a 15-year-old boy.”

To make matters even more awkward, the girl told Solito the person in question was wearing sunglasses while changing in the locker room.

“If you’re in a locker room, with a bunch of girls, and you’re wearing sunglasses? They have sunglasses that can take pictures and video. The girls don’t know where he’s looking and we don’t know what kind of sunglasses they are,” Solito said.

I was once a 15-year-old girl – and I raised girls who were 15 not too long ago – so I totally understand the teenage girls’ unease. Being a mother, I totally understand Solito’s vexation.

“I emailed the principal, Whitney Cottrell, and asked her a slew of questions. Basically ‘what are you going to be doing to protect my daughter?’ Solito said. “I wanted to know what the requirements are for a person who wants to change in a bathroom that is different from their gender. What does the school require from the parents or from a doctor?

“They spent that $1.8 million on equity (liaisons),” she continued. “I thought it was supposed to be equitable across the board. So what are they doing to make sure my daughter feels just as comfortable as this person?”

The response from Cottrell three days later was, according to Solito, “basically a copy-and-paste and said ‘We are following the law of AB blah, blah, blah. Here’s the answer to all your questions.’”

“She obviously didn’t answer my questions,” Solito continued. “She didn’t tell me how she’s going to keep my child safe. She doesn’t tell me about the sunglasses. She didn’t tell me what the school requires. She didn’t answer any question that I had about what’s actually happening, or how my daughter can feel comfortable.”

The law Cottrell and Solito referenced is AB 1266, the Sex Equity in Education Act, which went into effect in 2014. AB 1266 “requires that pupils be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, activities, and use facilities consistent with their gender identity, without respect to the gender listed in a pupil’s records.”

“Like all public schools, we must follow the laws,” said Ilana Israel Samuels, Director, Communications and Community Relations at SRVUSD. “This means we cannot and will not marginalize students from the facilities' access and ignore students' legal rights.”

According to the California Department of Education, legal documentation is not required for the district staff to acknowledge a student’s wish to identify as a gender different from the one at birth. The CDE website states, “If the school district has not received documentation supporting a legal name or gender change, the school should nonetheless update all unofficial school records (e.g. attendance sheets, school IDs, report cards) to reflect the student’s name and gender marker that is consistent with the student’s gender identity.”

In the San Ramon Valley district schools, a student can work with a staff member to create a gender support plan that might include identifying differently, and that student is legally allowed to use the locker room or restroom consistent with their gender identity.

However, while the district must follow the letter of the law, Samuels said, “We work to support all students and encourage them to speak with a staff member at their school if they have a concern or feel uncomfortable in any situation, so that we may address it collaboratively and directly with the student and their parents or caregivers.

“If there’s a student who says ‘I’m not comfortable changing in whatever locker room for whatever reason,’ then we’re going to work that student and their family,”Samuels said, adding that students can change in a bathroom stall in the locker room, or other arrangements can be made.

“At the end of the day, we have to allow access to a locker room, but we’re not going to make a student have to change in a locker room they’re not comfortable in.”

“This current situation is not considering how uncomfortable it makes biological teenage girls in their own locker room,” Solito said. “My child should not have to feel uncomfortable in her locker room.”

This is a textbook “rock-and-a-hard-place” situation for everyone involved. However, solutions do exist – better solutions than dozens of girls changing in bathroom stalls.

Those solutions won’t be found by giving a copy-and-paste answer to a parent’s angst-filled plea for help. Nor will they be found by, basically, saying your hands are tied by the law.

Finding a solution will take honest, respectful communication, with those involved seeking to understand the concerns of the other parties and being open to ideas that might be, well, uncomfortable.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

It's sad that transgenders have more rights than a 15-year-old teenage girl. I'm a mom too, and I'm glad our sons and daughter are grown.

That being said, the school does have to follow AB 100% BS. It's the law, and they're looking at liability if they don't. I would advise my daughter to change in the bathroom stall. She shouldn't have to, but it's the only way she'll have her privacy.

And you wonder why Californians and businesses are leaving California. I love California, and I've lived here all my life. Is it worth it?

Posted by Sean, a resident of Birdland,
on Sep 18, 2022 at 1:12 am

Sean is a registered user.

Until California turns at least 40% red, this insanity will continue.

Posted by keeknlinda, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Sep 18, 2022 at 11:10 am

keeknlinda is a registered user.

Because the bathroom stall option was offered, while not perfect, it would seem a workable compromise. It could be as simple as having Ms. Samuels ask the opposite gender-identifying teen to use a bathroom stall. If that fails, then all the girls identifying as girls should be given the same opportunity. Gender rights works both ways, doesn't it? Of course, depending on how many stalls there are relative to how many girls, it could slow down the start of class.
If the principal fails to address the issue, a discreet call higher up the administrative chain might net more satisfactory results.

Posted by H, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School,
on Sep 18, 2022 at 8:14 pm

H is a registered user.

The answer is simple - sue the school district and collect damages from the inevitable settlement. Either district's legal counsel will figure it out for them or the district will run out of money and the county will have to take over and then they/their lawyers can figure it out.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Sep 19, 2022 at 7:59 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

Transgender rights or subterfuge on display? If I had to raise children all over again I would do everything possible to keep my children out of government schools. Lots of alternatives. Sadly, this state and the Teachers Union could care less about our kids or parents. Look what's happening in other states. Parents have to do the difficult work of standing up to this all.

Posted by Lucinda Williams, a resident of another community,
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:19 am

Lucinda Williams is a registered user.

As a parent of a teen-aged son who now identifies as a young women, it is imperative to allow all transgenders the option of undressing/dressing wherever they feel comfortable due to potential bullying and bigotry towards those who do not fit the normal mold.

My son dresses and acts like a girl and for all intents and purposes, he is a female despite not having undergone full surgical transition.

It is time for transgenderphobes and bigots to accept people for who they are.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 19, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

My empathy and compassion are for the teenage girls who have to deal with a teenager who was born a MALE in the same locker room. If you don't want to be discriminated against don't change your gender. It IS subterfuge on display. Sadly, it's the law, and the law should be changed to protect 99% of society. The normal. Let the transgenders change in the bathroom of the gender they were born with. Problem solved.

Posted by Trudy Whelan, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Sep 20, 2022 at 7:08 am

Trudy Whelan is a registered user.

Problem not solved...a transgender born MALE and changing in the same locker room with other males would most likely be subjected to bullying especially if dressed like a female.

"If you don't want to be discriminated against don't change your gender."

^ Easier said than done.

Posted by Lenora Peters, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Sep 20, 2022 at 8:56 am

Lenora Peters is a registered user.

This issue has opened up a can of worms.

Questions...should homosexual and/or bi-sexual teens also be restricted from dressing/undressing/showering in gender-specific locker rooms?

Should a "Don't say, don't tell" mandate be initiated regardless one's sexual, gender identity, and form of dress?

Should only fully transitioned transgenders be allowed access to locker rooms of their choice?

Or should there be separate locker rooms/gyms exclusively for those who are outside the norm?

A girl identifying as male and using the boy's gym would create the same potential problems.

Posted by Gina Harris, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 20, 2022 at 12:55 pm

Gina Harris is a registered user.

Seems to me that if certain restrictions are warranted to protect our children from uncomfortable scenarios, then both transgender and LGBTQ students should have gym lockers and shower facilities separate from the straight kids.

Posted by Mike Arata, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 21, 2022 at 12:47 am

Mike Arata is a registered user.

I'm closer genetically to being Joe Biden �" or Barack Obama �" than all but about 0.0067% of XY chromosomal males (those with disorders of sexual development, including androgen insensitivity) will ever be to becoming female. But I don't demand that I be addressed as “Mr. President," nor do I expect access to the Oval Office on my say-so.

As Dr. Paul McHugh (Distinguished Service Psychiatry Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and from 1975 until 2011, as well as Psychiatrist in Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital) has written, “gender dysphoria... belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder" ( Web Link See also Web Link ).

The “professional" medical associations (American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association) are compromised by liberal leadership in their outlooks on sex and gender dysphoria. In 1973, for example, the American Psychiatric Association caved in to activists and removed homosexuality from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM III). The decision was political, not clinical, as reported in “Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis"
(Bayer: Princeton University Press, 1987). Transgenderism was next in the hit parade.

Transgender suicide when the condition is not accepted, indeed celebrated? The most thorough longitudinal study of the subject (30-year time frame, 1973-2003) was done in Sweden, an LGBTQ-friendly country, with actual sex-reassigned individuals, found suicide rates at 19 times those of control subjects, and higher rates of other mortalities as well. See Web Link .

Instead of cooperating happily with California's legislative perversion, schools should join the resistance to it.

Posted by Mike Arata, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 21, 2022 at 1:01 am

Mike Arata is a registered user.

Second-last paragraph should begin with "Transgender suicide when transgenderism [i.e., "the condition" above] is accepted, indeed celebrated?" Sorry for typo, lack of clarity!

Posted by Harrison Tamaki, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 21, 2022 at 8:16 am

Harrison Tamaki is a registered user.

@Mike Arata....good point.

As humans, we are all directly linked genetically to Africa Genesis but outside of interracial children, very few whites and Asians consider themselves black people.

This issue is all about one's chosen gender identity rather than reality itself.

Posted by Justine Willows, a resident of another community,
on Sep 21, 2022 at 10:11 am

Justine Willows is a registered user.

Mike Arata...

I transgendered several years ago (male to female) and am now happily married to a woman whom I cherish and adore.

As a male, my feelings towards women felt ackward and estranged but now everything is OK as I realized that my mind was simply inside the wrong body.

As strange as it may sound, I was a male lesbian seeking love and acceptance from the wrong gender and I imagine there are others who have felt the same (i.e Caitlyn Jenner).

Inferring that transgenders have some sort of mental health issue is oversimplifying matters.

Posted by Bruce Arnette, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 21, 2022 at 2:31 pm

Bruce Arnette is a registered user.

We need more positive transgender role models like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and the legendary Christine Jorgenson, a former WW2 vet who transitioned and became a popular singer.

Maybe athletics will provide the next avenue.

Posted by Mike Arata, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 22, 2022 at 9:49 pm

Mike Arata is a registered user.

“Caitlyn" (Bruce) Jenner illustrates the absurdity of allowing biological males who say they're females to compete in girls' and women's athletic events. Though Jenner was the 1976 Summer Olympics decathlon gold medalist with a record point total, none of his 10-event individual performances would have come close to medaling (placing top 3) in corresponding individual men's events.

But at least 4 of Jenner's 10 performances (all in just two physically draining days) would have taken individual gold in women's events.

Had women's pole vault been contested in the 1976 Games, Jenner's vaulting would have won that competition also. And had Jenner used lower-weight women's equipment in the shot put, discus, and javelin throws �" and shorter distance and lower bars for women's sprint hurdles �" he would likely have won those individual women's competitions as well.

Jenner's time in the 400-meter race, slower by 2.6 seconds than the individual 400-meter men's 1976 bronze medalist, would still be a women's world record today. [A contrast (as of 2017) of women's performance in track and field vs. men and under-18 boys is posted in a Duke Law analysis ( Web Link )].

In 2018-19, male college sophomore, 6 ft. 4 in. swimmer “Lia" (Will) Thomas's 500 yd freestyle ranked 65th among NCAA men.

But that left him “miserable," Thomas reported in May on “Good Morning America." So he decided he'd “transition." Having thereby “won" the Division 1 NCAA Women's 500 free in March, “the biggest change" is that he's now “happy," declared still-baritone Thomas.

What about the actual women whose finishes were all dropped a spot by Thomas, despite their patient years of tough training?

Title IX compromise/scholarship-confusion is itself just another collateral-damage sacrifice to the synthetic happiness of athletic pretenders.

Posted by Heloise Barker, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 23, 2022 at 10:44 am

Heloise Barker is a registered user.

America is a country founded on the principle of personal freedoms...excluding the commiting of felonies.

These freedoms includes the personal freedom to be LGBTQ and pro-choice.

As for transgenders...they are entitled to equality as per the U.S. Constitution but not special entitlements.

Posted by katingthem, a resident of Bonde Ranch,
on Sep 26, 2022 at 8:40 pm

katingthem is a registered user.

I used to feel awkward and out of place with ladies, but after realizing that my mind was in the wrong body, everything is fine now.

Posted by Petra Walters, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:18 pm

Petra Walters is a registered user.

I was genetically born a male but I detested my genitalia.

After transitioning to a woman, I feel free to be who I was always meant to be.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Sep 30, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

LGBTQ people have been with us since the beginning of time. Joe Biden or the Liberals did not create them. God created them just like He created all of us. They have been bullied, discriminated against and treated terribly - it is time for us to stop judging them as though they have leprosy. They need to be recognized- yes, they are here and they are fine! And they need to be treated equally and fairly.

Posted by Justin Lange, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Justin Lange is a registered user.

Only physically transitioned (by surgery not hormone replacement therapy) transgenders should be allowed to undress in the locker rooms of their choice.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Oct 5, 2022 at 4:44 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Hey Gina, are you a Conservative MAGA supporter trying to influence voters with your opinion piece? Did you take the Paren Revolt training? I and people I know are voting against MAGa conservatives no matter how small the election.

Web Link

Posted by Gina Channell, Publisher, a resident of Downtown,
on Oct 5, 2022 at 5:27 pm

Gina Channell, Publisher is a registered user.

Hey Kevin, I appreciate not seeing you for a while!
Anyone with an IQ above plant life understands that the STORY you linked to is written by CALMATTERS. Not me. Not one of our reporters.
I guess I gave you too much credit thinking you're more intelligent than my hydrangea.
Oh, and by the way, your calling me a MAGA whatever follows right behind someone else calling me an SF liberal.
I must be doing an excellent job of balancing coverage and remaining neutral. Thank you for pointing it out!
Your friend,

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

California must do a better job spending cap-and-trade revenue
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 2,443 views

Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance grew from chance meeting
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 2,179 views

Making wine for 140 years merits celebration
By Deborah Grossman | 0 comments | 599 views