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1St Circuit Affirms School's Right to Prohibit Anti-Trans Apparel


Carolyn Marie

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I was curious to find out what "anti-trans apparel" meant. Yeah, I mean it's roughly equivalent to someone wearing a shirt saying some ignorant statement about inferiority of certain races claiming "science". Like in another thread we recently had, freedom of speech is nuanced and does not mean it's okay to say whatever you like in every single context.

 

Moreover, this was a middle school. So who do you think bought that shirt and taught that kid that it would be a good thing to wear it.

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Just now, Vidanjali said:

So who do you think bought that shirt and taught that kid that it would be a good thing to wear it.

This.

 

Free speech is free speech.  But a school is a controlled environment to some extent.  It's not a wide open do-anything-you-want place.

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Just now, Ivy said:

Free speech is free speech.  But a school is a controlled environment to some extent.  It's not a wide open do-anything-you-want place.

 

The extensive stoic reading that I've done in the last year suggests to blend in on the outside and be unique on the inside.  Diversity is really cool though and part of what I call the research and development aspect of American culture.  Not sure what it is like in other countries but I hear other cultures approach this differently.

 

I think the only t-shirt with words on it, or really any printing, that I've worn any more than a couple times is my Atari shirt.  I wrote an Asteroids clone a couple decades ago and enjoy the angles and action in Atari games.  Sometimes I would feel weird wearing it because of the idea of promoting wasteful technology.  I remember enjoying putting in on to do some woodworking projects or perhaps bicycle repair projects on a Saturday morning with a mocha I would make with whipped cream and raspberry sauce on top.  Perhaps I'm on a tangent now?  I gave the Atari shirt away last week.  It was always just way too big on me.

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Just now, Lydia_R said:

I think the only t-shirt with words on it, or really any printing, that I've worn any more than a couple times is my Atari shirt.

I actually seldom wear any kind of t-shirt.  I wear dresses mostly.  I do still have a couple of them that I sometimes include in a layer, maybe under something sleeveless.  

Sometimes I see one with a "message" I like, but I realize I would never wear it anyway.  Of course a nice oversized t-shirt is excellent for bedtime.

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Having noted the Legal Dramatis Personae in this case.  It is a matter of the school keeping the the parents and their wardens out of their classrooms. "F" grades for the student in his actual science classes on campus for spouting the parents ignorant and biased non-scientific ideas as fact should actually be in play here.  Either that or the school's own science curriculum needs to have a fire lit under it.  

 

This of course does lend some credibility to the H8 parent;s own arguments that Gender Dysphoria is the product of parental inspiration and control, and not the child's true perception of themselves.  When Anti-Trans can be taught and directed by parents this easily, I see where they think Trans is also taught and directed by parents they deem evil.   (How deep in a closet is the poor guy??)

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This will eventually have to be decided by the Supreme Court... a court which seems to have avoided most trans-related stuff recently.  This ruling seems to get perilously close to violating the precedent set by Tinker vs. Des Moines in 1969.  Given that the shirt in question does not contain "profanity" as usually considered in American society, but merely a political opinion in common language....can it be said that it violates the "substantial disruption" test according to the Tinker ruling? 

 

Personally, I'm not offended by a shirt that says "There are only two genders" nor do I believe that it causes disruption even in a school environment.  Impolite? Sure.  Substantial?  Hardly.  Yet none of this needs to happen.  Schools can easily avoid this by implementing a basic dress code or even a uniform, rather than singling out individual cases.  Problem solved in a way that is consistent with the law. 

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If the intent is to inflict harm, free speech does not provide protection. Wearing a shirt alone does not, ipso facto, necessarily inflict harm. Nor does unprotected speech require to meet the bar of profanity. However, if there was intended harm or demonstrable harm (such as incitement or threats) then first amendment protections are not provided--which a judge decided was so in this case.

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Impossible to prove intent on something like this.  And honestly, intent to inflict harm isn't the usual bar for freedom of speech.  How was harm actually demonstrated?  Was there a riot?  Assault or property damage? Or just some folks' feelings got hurt?  I doubt a reasonable court would call the statement "There are only two genders" any kind of threat.  Would the same thing be said about the statement "There are more than two genders?"  Of course not.  This ruling is partisan.  The 1st Circuit is in in the Northeast...

 

Wearing a swastika is freedom of speech.  Wearing a hammer-and-sickle is freedom of speech.  Burning the US flag is freedom of speech.  Supporting multiple genders, two genders, or none at all... its a political opinion that should be protected speech.  If we start banning what can be said because somebody is offended or feels bad about it, we don't have much freedom left.  That blade cuts in two directions.

 

I don't think that school is a good place for political speech such as this.  But that's solved by dress code or school uniforms, banning text or political speech broadly rather than singling out one opinion. 

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I have been told at least 100 times by staff at the centre I attend, "we only believe in two genders."

 

That of course falls under "freedom of speech!"

 

I can't expect my "situation" to change their opinions any more than they can expect their opinions to change me. 

 

They have not dismissed me from the program, nor acted in violence in any manner. So far everything is under the "free speech" umbrella. 

"As disturbing as it is", they are within their constitutional rights. 

 

Other rules and regulations passed specifically aimed at me are another story, but I do NEED their services so I have been electing to go along with things. If I had another program to go to I would have left already. 

 

Words are not violence unless they are physical threats. If we keep attacking "free speech", we soon enough won't have any. Then the government will dictate what we can say or not.

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Just now, Birdie said:

Words are not violence unless they are physical threats.

It need not be violent, either. We are well aware of the policy at your day center. There is a level of harassment that comes along with your participation there. That is a private business. What if the situation was a guy that is constantly verbally harassing you, but also liked to sit next to you wearing shirts specifically as an affront to you? The shirt is just a part of the harassment, but it is demonstrable harassment. The center would have the right to ask that person to refrain from harassing you, in both verbal and non-verbal forms. The harasser’s right to free speech does not grant them the right to infringe on your right to be free from harassment.

 

In the case of the t-shirt, is this a “slippery slope case”? Maybe. If anyone has read the full trial summary and verdict, let us know if it reads like it was frivolous.

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Just now, MaeBe said:

What if the situation was a guy that is constantly verbally harassing you, but also liked to sit next to you wearing shirts specifically as an affront to you?

Perhaps like these notes I always find under my door?

20240613_074127.thumb.jpg.8a5c6d03484e921ba9eedb94249b24a0.jpg

 

Found this one this morning, these are very common. 

 

Still falls under freedom of speech. 

 

Perhaps since I have grown up in this environment that these "opinions" mean nothing to me. I don't let them bother me. 

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  • Jani changed the title to 1St Circuit Affirms School's Right to Prohibit Anti-Trans Apparel
Just now, MaeBe said:

The center would have the right to ask that person to refrain from harassing you, in both verbal and non-verbal forms. 

Absolutely the centre would have the right to enact policy to prevent harassment. Just like the school has a right to enforce a dress code upon the premises without "targeting" one single individual. We had policies like that in school when I was a child. Certain printed shirts were found offensive to some, so the dress code was adapted to reflect, "no printed shirts allowed." 

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Just now, Birdie said:

Found this one this morning, these are very common.

I don't know what to say.

I'm not jewish, but I have jewish family members.

I guess people can always find somebody to hate on.

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Just now, Birdie said:

Just like the school has a right to enforce a dress code upon the premises without "targeting" one single individual.

The case was settled to allow this very thing. Something always triggers laws, there was a perceived harm (of the individual that had their shirt called into question), and the court settled that the school has the right to disallow that kind of speech.

 

As for the antisemitic abuse you're getting. It's abuse, plain and simple. It's targeted and intended to harass. Is the message outright threatening? No, but the intent is to harm. I am really sorry you have to deal with it. I wish people were smarter and better.

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14 hours ago, Ivy said:

I guess people can always find somebody to hate on.

That's the thing, haters will always hate.

 

@Birdie:

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4b970bbd36ed0dca8977b2acab7397e4).jpg

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