Kelley Winters

An Open Letter to Google CEO Larry Page about Bullying

Filed By Kelley Winters | November 13, 2013 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: bullying, Larry Page, misgendering, Pacific Justice Institute, transgender youth, transphobia, YouTube

An open letterDear Mr. Page,

Civil rights and children's advocates have been outraged by a November 4 Youtube video, entitled, "Boy Allowed in Girls' School Bathroom: Victims Respond," that attacked and demeaned an innocent transgender girl attending a public High School in Florence, Colorado. Posted by a Sacramento based political group, Pacific Justice Institute, the video smears this young woman with defamatory stereotypes of transgender people and demonizes school officials for extending her the very same access to public education and school facilities as other youth in her community.

There are eight false or defamatory statements in this video:

  1. "Boy Allowed in Girls' School Bathroom"

    This young woman, Jane Doe, identifies and lives as a girl. She is not, psychologically, behaviorally or socially a boy. "She's comfortable with life," according to her family, "She's just a normal girl." Jane is simply living her life authentically and trying to get an education.

  2. "I feel that they're [other girls in school] not safe"

    This statement is libelous, implying criminal behavior or intent. School officials interviewed by blogger and reporter Cristan Williams confirmed that previous accusations of misconduct by PJI against Jane were untrue, "There has not been an incident of harassment, or anything that would cause any additional concern."

  3. "It's your job to protect your kid"

    This rhetoric, from an intolerant parent, falsely smears Ms. Doe as posing some kind of threat. It conflates victims with their attackers. It is Jane who needs to be protected in her school. In a recent large scale study, transgender or gender non-conforming students in grades K-12 reported "alarming rates of harassment (78%), physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%). Jane has received numerous threats of violence and murder from readers of the Fox News web site, following media attacks by PJI.

  4. "He doesn't have the same parts as me"

    Apart from Jane's parents, doctors and, possibly, intimate partners, no one in her school has any knowledge of her "parts," or medical history. It would be inappropriate and perverse for PJI or any adult group to speculate about the genital anatomy of any other minors. It is equally inappropriate for them to victimize and humiliate Jane.

  5. "Girls whose privacy rights have been violated"

    Women's restrooms have private stalls with locked doors. The only person here, whose privacy rights have been violated, is Jane.

  6. "The school pretty much told us, your daughter has no rights"

    All students in Florence High School have the same rights they always had. All, including Jane, are held to the very same standards of conduct in all school facilities. The real issue is that PJI and some intolerant parents are claiming that they have a "right" to deny Jane Doe's right to public education, human dignity, and equal protection under the law. Prejudice is not a right.

  7. "He's a confused boy"

    This is the same false stereotype of mental disorder that was used to defame lesbian and gay people for generations. In truth, children, youth and adults who are painfully distressed with their birth-sex and transition to congruent gender roles are characterized by certainty, not "confusion." Jane has, in fact, "flourished" in her authentic role.

  8. "Why can't we teach him to respect others?"

    This statement by an intolerant parent ironically typifies the disrespect that Jane has suffered. The misgendering pronoun, "him," is a slur, an epithet intended to demean her identity and legitimacy. In truth, it is PJI and this parent who have failed to respect others born differently than themselves.

The YouTube Community Guidelines state:

'Hate speech' refers to content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group.

We don't permit speech that attacks or demeans a group based on certain characteristics

And Google Inc. (the parent company for YouTube) has posted the following statement of diversity and inclusion:

We strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind, including discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, medical condition, sexual orientation or any other characteristics protected by law.

Google would never host material that promotes prejudice, school segregation, apartheid, or Jim Crow on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion. Yet YouTube staff have ignored countless flags by readers, reporting violation of terms of use in this video. By ignoring their own community standards, by allowing this prejudiced and defamatory attack on a transgender youth, YouTube staffers are tacitly collaborating with this injustice and subjecting an innocent young life to increased risk of violence.

Mr. Page, as a parent, as a colleague with more that 30 years of experience in the computer industry, and as a trans* woman who has faced prejudice and violence, I ask you to please take down this hateful propaganda video from your site.

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