A transgender woman in Lawton is hoping her voice can make a difference in the polices adopted by Harrold ISD.
Her goal was to allow the people of Harrold to see her and hear her story, to open their eyes to the issue after a Federal Judge in Texas blocked bathroom rules intended to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their choice.
Back in May, Harrold ISD in Wilbarger County, decided to adopt a policy in which students will use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate.
And Deanna Deville, a transgender woman, decided she should speak up.
“I did ask the board, rhetorically, if the Los Angeles school district with 900,000 students has had their policy in place since 2004 or 14 years and has never had an incident, why can’t it work in Harrold, Texas,” said Deville.
Deville was accompanied by her Pastor Brandon Johnson.
“I stand with her,” said Johnson, Pastor of First Christian Church in Lawton. “In a genuine way, she is not only standing up for herself, but for other people who identify as transgender. And simply standing with her, I think it gives it a power because so often Christian communities marginalize LGBTQ people. And for me as a Christian pastor to stand up and say, she’s a child of God number 1. Number 2, her rights are just as valid as anybody else.”
Deville was a Warrant Officer in the US Army, where she spent 26 years on active duty and then worked as an analyst for a defense contractor for 11 years.
She’s now 65, but began transitioning 10 years ago.
“I didn’t want to transition,” said Deville. “I was successful, I was a man, I had everything I could want, I had a great life. I still have a good life. But when you’re transgender and it’s time to transition, you will transition. It’s that powerful.”
“Attorney General Paxton said voiced a concern that, “oh somebody’s going to come in and today I’m male, today I’m female, tomorrow I’m male, the day after that I’m going to be female. It doesn’t work like that. It’s consistent.”
Deville believes school districts can use counselors and psychologists to evaluate the children because she says she knows first hand how lonely the transitioning process can be.
“It is a tough journey,” Deville said. “You’re alone. It’s tough, even when your parents support you it’s still tough. When I walk in the door of churches, it’s still tough because you’re the outcast. You’re the outsider. You’re the one the needs acceptance.”
And that’s all Deville says she and other members of the transgender community want — is to truly feel accepted in society.
Deville says the response from the Harrold School Board was positive.
We reached out to Superintendent David Thweat, who said because of the on-going federal lawsuit over federal guidelines that he cannot comment at this time.