Michigan’s first transgender teacher of the year speaks out on trans student athlete bill
OAK PARK, Michigan. – A controversial Senate bill that targets trans athletes is making its way into the Michigan legislature.
Michigan Senate Bill 0218 would prevent transgender high school athletes from playing on sports teams that match their identities.
Owen Bondono, Michigan Teacher of the Year 2020-2021, spoke about the bill and the impact it could have on students.
Bondono, the first transgender person to be named Michigan Teacher of the Year, ported to social media after being unable to testify before lawmakers on the controversial bill.
“If the school’s job is to welcome students into a classroom where they are respected, supported and loved – and I believe it is – this bill, if passed, will not will make this more fully possible for our transgender students in Michigan, ”Bondono says.
The bill was introduced by Senator Lana Theis and co-sponsored by 12 other GOP senators. Bondono was invited to testify on the bill before a Senate committee on Tuesday, but that never happened. After hearing testimony from others, Theis said she had another meeting to attend and couldn’t hear from the state’s principal teacher or any other transgender resident.
“It really made me feel like I was pushing in one direction and it made me feel like they were more concerned with making cisgender people feel comfortable that transgender people feel included.” , Bondono said.
The bill is almost identical to 29 other bills in other states that the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say would harm transgender youth already at risk. The bill is also opposed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which deemed it unnecessary and that there were only 10 athletes (out of over 180,000) who used the state’s existing transgender policy. over the past five years.
Bondono said the bill is not just about sports.
“When I was young I felt very isolated and felt that the world was not a welcome place for me,” said Bondono. “I think bills like this communicate this message to transgender youth today.”
Local 4 contacted Theis office to ask why they felt the bill was necessary and whether Bondono would be invited to return to testify. There was no response.
Bondono said he had not been invited to return, but would welcome the invitation.
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