La Feria Independent School DistrictBoard of TrusteesP.O. Box 1159203 East Oleander AvenueLa Feria, Texas 78559November 5, 2013Dear Members of the La Feria School Board,
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonproﬁt civil rights organization dedicated to ﬁghting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest civil rights organization in the United States working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. We write to express our support of Jeydon Loredo, a senior at La Feria High School who intends to appear at the November 11, 2013 School Board meeting to appeal a decision made by Superintendent Villarreal. Jeydon is an outstanding young person. He is a model student and an active participant in his high school community. He is devoted to his close-knit family. Jeydon is also transgender.
When Jeydon was born, he was assigned a female gender and correspondingly raised as a girl throughout much of his time at the La Feria School District. With the full support of his family, friends, and physician, and a full nine years after he entered the district as a fourth grader, Jeydon now identiﬁes as a man. Jeydon recently wore a tuxedo for his senior portrait. He expected that his picture would be included in the school yearbook, along with the pictures of all his fellow students and friends. Superintendent Villarreal, however, has determined that Jeydon’s picture may
be included in the yearbook because the picture purportedly would offend “community standards.”This decision is misguided and wrong. “Community standards,” such as standards of inclusion, respect, and nondiscrimination, actually counsel in favor of
Jeydon’s portrait, not
it. Jeydon’s gender identity is male and he should be allowed to wear a tuxedo in accordance with that gender identity. Courts have held that it may be a violation of civil rights laws to refuse to allow even a
student to wear a tuxedo in a yearbook photo. We write to support Jeydon’s appeal, and to provide background that may enable a full understanding of the situation.
Jeydon’s Commitment to School and Family
Jeydon moved to this community nine years ago with his mother, Stella Loredo, and his three older brothers. Jeydon has been a model student since his arrival. Throughout Ms. Loredo’s years attending
1 “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.”
american psychological association