The Culture of Harassing Transgender Kids in Minnesota

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I do not know much about what happened in the bathroom at the Osseo Senior High School the other day, but on face value, it looks like adult staff were upset that a transgender female high school student was using, I assume, what they considered to be the wrong bathroom. They used a crow bar to open the stall door, then apparently got out of the way of the girl’s cell phone camera. The video, taken and posted by her, is below.

Like I said, I don’t know that much about this specific event, but Osseo is the neighboring school district to mine, and I can add a certain amount of context.

In this area, the western suburbs of Minneapolis, there are a couple of gradients. One is the gradient across population density, going from dense city-like suburbs right next to Minneapolis, to the west, to less and less densely populated suburbs, to farmland. I live near the outer boundary of that gradient.

Then there is the south to north gradient running from the big lake that the rich people live on (in the south), running northward to where the landscape becomes less interesting, the wealth drops considerably, and the population becomes mostly working class. Far enough north-ish, and you are in Anoka. A major source of humor around here is comparing the hicks from Coon Rapids (where I lived for several years) with the hicks from Anoka.

Osseo School District, which overlaps with the town of Osseo (school districts in Minnesota are named after towns, but are only vaguely geographically connected to those towns, outside the big cities), is in Hennepin County. Up north of Hennepin County, out on the edge of that second gradient, is Anoka County. Hennepin County includes the most progressive urban zone in the United States outside of Cambridge, Mass, and overlaps with Minnesota’s fifth Congressional District. If you know your congressional districts, that will be meaningful to you. Anoka, on the other hand, is mainly in the sixth Congressional District. Remember Michele Bachmann? Yeah, that district.

So, Imagine Hennepin County and Anoka County combined, and subract all the wealthy high end school districts like Wayzata (top school in the state, go Trojans!), remove Minneapolis, and so on, what you’ve got left is something that does not quite meet Lake Woebegon standards of Minnesota Nice. What you’ve got lefy is a high proportion of working class people, mostly conservative, sexist, anti-gay, Trump-loving Michele Bachmann supporting, crackhead yahoos and their families.

OK, maybe I’m characterizing the region a bit too harshly. But it is mostly Michele Bachmann land, where people on average really hate Transgender folk.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District is one of the largest districts in the state, geographically. It is the district that served the population I just described. Hennepin and Anoka Counties minus the civilized city and the la-la-chi-chi upper end suburbs, and minus some other districts, like Osseo.

Anoka-Hennepin was nearly shut down a few years ago by the US Center for Disease Control. Why did the CDC want to shut down Anoka-Hennepin? Because too many students were dying there. Looking at the statistics for a certain cause of death across America’s school districts, Anoka-Hennepin had one of the highest rates of death. That alarmed the CDC, so they went in and said, this gets fixed or we shut you down.

And what was the cause of death that had become alarmingly common in the Anoka-Hennepin School District?

Suicide, disproportionally by LGBT kids who were being bullied by both student and staff. And, the staff policy for addressing this bullying was to ignore it. That was the actual policy. Let it go all Darwinian.

The Osseo School District is geographically within the overall range of Anoka-Hennepin, similar to the rest of it, and is culturally roughly the same. This is also where Trump-loving deplorables were displaying Nazi symbols right after the 2016 election. It is also a place that includes a large mostly white neighborhood and a large mostly non-white neighborhood, but has gerrymandered the school district positions to make sure the latter is never represented on the school board.

Here’s the video of the Osseo staff busting into the bathroom stall to harass this young transgender student:

Shame on Osseo.


One Town’s War on Gay Teens (this is a Rolling Stone article that blew the lid off the Anoka-Hennepin problem)

Eight Suicides in Two Years at Anoka-Hennepin School District

String of teenage suicides in Michele Bachmann’s Minnesota backyard linked to anti-gay bullying

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2 thoughts on “The Culture of Harassing Transgender Kids in Minnesota

  1. “They used a crow bar to open the stall door,”

    Really? Violently breaking into a bathroom stall with a crow bar was intended to protect who, exactly?

    I hope the ignorant fucks who did that are not long for their jobs. (I’m sure they’re secure, sadly, but I can hope.)

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