Is Manteca Unified School District discriminating against the children of transgender parents?
A Lathrop couple inferred that much when they addressed the Board of Trustees and other district officials at the board meeting Tuesday night. Angela Chu, who went up to the podium first and introduced “my husband,” Ramon who is now going by the name of Ramona Chu, recounted their “unpleasant personal experience” when their daughter was attending Lathrop High School.
Megan Cai – she and her mother changed their last name soon after discovering the legendary and famous Chinese film maker and director Cai Chuseng was Angela’s grand-uncle – was a co-valedictorian when she graduated in June 2012. She is now attending Cornell University which offered her a full-ride scholarship.
“My daughter invited me to her graduation last year,” said Ramona Chu who started her more than allotted five-minute speech with the self-introduction, “I am a transexual woman.”
“I drove eight hours from San Diego,” where she was working at a Best Buy store there, to be at her daughter’s graduation, she said.
“When I got there, I saw the parking lot was full. The school didn’t have special parking arrangements for the parents of the graduates and they limited attendance to the graduation ceremonies which was held at the school’s stadium. My daughter was valedictorian, and I couldn’t find a parking space! So I went home and walked the two miles to the school.”
Although it was only a two-mile walk – from the family’s Stonebridge home on the east side of Interstate 5 – to the Lathrop High stadium near the San Joaquin River to the west, Ramona Chu reminded everyone, “if you remember, that was a windy day. I missed the commencement. When I got there, it was over.”
Fortunately, she said, “my daughter was not discouraged by this unpleasant experience. On the contrary, it encouraged her to do well in school. I’m looking forward to another valedictorian speech (by his daughter) at Cornell.”
Angela Cai, who was born in Hong Kong, said their daughter has been consistently on the honor roll at Cornell and that she is proud of her parents.
“I came here to ask (for) help to stop the discrimination of children because” of their transgender parents or for any prejudicial reasons, Ramona Chu said.
As far as she is concerned, “I don’t care I’m a transgender. But don’t put this discrimination on the children. Please do this (end discrimination) for the children of the future, not only of transgender parents of kids” but others who could be subject to discrimination for other reasons, she added.
At the end of her allotted five minutes to speak – the time limit is applicable to all speakers during the open forum section of the board meeting – board president Don Scholl agreed to give Ramona Chu an extra minute to finish her speech.
Standing in the middle aisle of the seats in front of the audience, Angela Cai told her husband in a voice that was audible to everyone to also “say something about LGBT” – the initials refer collectively to lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. However, Ramona Chu’s time was up and went back to her seat.
Since the Chus’ appearance was made during the open forum and did not address a specific item on the agenda, none of the school district officials and members of the board did not make any comment. The trustees are not required to offer any comment during this part of the meeting.