Maui News

Hawaiʻi Transgender Leaders to Deliver Petition to DOE

May 3, 2016, 7:51 AM HST
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Prominent transgender figures will gather with local transgender students and their families to deliver a petition to the department of education this afternoon.

The group is seeking the establishment of guidelines and training to ensure students across the gender spectrum are respected and protected in schools.

On hand will be Fashion designer Ari South, soccer and film star Jaiyah Saelua, and teacher and cultural practitioner Hina Wong-Kalu.

“This is so important for our keiki that I’m going to the DOE instead of the White House this week,” said Wong-Kalu, who was recently selected to receive an Asian American – Pacific Islander Champion of Change award in Washington DC this week.

The US Department of education has advised schools that failure to treat students consistent with their gender identity leaves them open to legal prosecution under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.


Organizers say a growing number of stories about transgender students facing discrimination in Hawaiʻi public schools underscore the need for fair and consistent treatment district wide.


The petition requests the DOE to establish a clear set of guidelines, consistent with its existing anti-discrimination policy.  The group further urges the department to study the policies and best practices, such as those presented in the California and GLSEN transgender model district policies, that have been adopted by school districts across the country without any incidents of confusion, harassment, or inappropriate behavior.

Additional participants expected include the following:

  • Jennea Purcell and Berlin Scott – Transgender Kahuku High School student and her mother
  • Wendy Wink – Parent of second grade transgender student in Honolulu elementary school
  • Sinan Sison & Cathy Kapua – Kuaʻana Transgender Services Project of the Life Foundation
  • Laila Villanueva Ireland – Transgender nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center
  • Camaron Miyamoto – University of Hawaii at Manoa LGBT Student Services Coordinator
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