LAS CRUCES - While the Las Cruces Public School District does have rules that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the district does not have a set bathroom policy to accommodate the needs of transgender students.
"I think what we have found is that our method is a one-on-one approach with the families," said Jo Galván, a spokeswoman for the district. "It's been working really well."
Galván said that the parents of transgender students often contact the district and ask for special accommodations, like permission to use the bathroom in the nurse's office.
"Parents communicate to us," Galván said. "They reach out to the schools. and say, 'I have a transgender child and I want to talk to you about things like, 'Which restroom do they use?'"
"Really, taking things on a case-by-case basis is really 'separate, but equal,'" said Vib Gonzalez, who identifies as transgender. He's attended public school in Las Cruces from kindergarten through his senior year of high school.
Gonzalez is a board member for the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico. He said the district should create a policy that accommodates the needs of everybody, rather than simply addressing individual cases as they arise.
"Students are already fighting this internal battle of trying to figure their own identity, and trying to figure out where they fit in the world," Gonzalez said. "If we're only giving them these options, then they're having to fight themselves, find that voice within themselves and then have to disclose to this a teacher or administrator."
Gonzalez said that instead of forcing someone to disclose that they're transgender, the district should simply allow students to use the bathroom of their choice.
"I'd really like to see some policies that protect transgender students and have some folks reach out to the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico or to any folks that can give them education, so that they know what they're doing," Gonzalez said.