Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 18th 2013 Contents Jeydon Loredo, a South Texas
transgender teenager, wants to
be remembered in his high school
yearbook wearing clothing that
he says reflects his identity.
But the 18-year-old, who grew
up female but now identifies as
male, and his mother say that his
school district is refusing to allow
a picture of Jeydon in a tuxedo to
appear in the yearbook because it
violates "community standards."
Now Jeydon and attorneys with
the Southern Poverty Law Center
are threatening legal action against
the La Feria school district if it
does not include the photo in the
yearbook. La Feria, a town of about
7,300 residents, is located about
30 miles east of McAllen.
"I ve lived here my whole life,
and I ve grown up with the kids
here...Denying my tuxedo photo
would be a way for the district to
forget me and everything I ve
brought to this community. The
yearbook is for the students, not
the faculty or the administration.
It is a way for us to remember each
other," Jeydon, a senior at La Feria
High School, said in a statement.
In a phone interview, Jeydon s
mother, Stella Loredo, said that
during a meeting with school dis-
trict Superintendent Raymundo
Villarreal, she was told that the
photograph of her son in a tuxedo
"goes against the community stan-
Raymundo told her that "they
were a conservative school and
that wouldn t follow the school
policy as far as their dress code,"
she said. Stella Loredo said she
was told her son s photograph
would be included only if he wore
feminine attire, such as a drape or
Villarreal declined to comment
about the case, citing privacy laws.
"However, I can confirm that
the administration has received a
request regarding a dress code vari-
ance for a senior year book picture,"
he said in a statement.
Alesdair Ittelson, an attorney
with the Southern Poverty Law
Centre, said the district s action
violates Jeydon s right to freedom
of expression under the First
Amendment, as well as the equal
protection clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment and Title IX, the law
requiring gender equity in every
educational programme that
receives federal funding.
In a letter to the school board,
Ittelson said if a decision to allow
the photograph in the yearbook
isn t made by November 21, the
law centre would file a federal law-
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The body bags lay by the side of the main
Fifteen of them, I counted. Two were child-
sized. Somebody had clearly gone to the trouble
of giving these poor wretches some shred of dig-
nity---a shroud of dignity? Except it wasn t, really.
Why bag them, move them and leave---why not
take them away? It s a sign of the chaos that has
engulfed the city of Tacloban, just as the wave
did one week earlier. Along this particular stretch
of wreckage, people casually stepped over the
body bags and continued past.
Many crossed the street and joined the end of
a long line, maybe 1,000 long, waiting in the
hope of food aid. They d heard it was due to be
distributed at the Tacloban Convention Centre---
itself damaged, but still a new home for thou-
There was no sense of anger in that line of
hungry faces, no simmering tension. In the Philip-
pines they call this "bahala na", which roughly
translates as "come what may" and suggests a
stoical, good-natured attitude.
As they sheltered under umbrellas from the
brutal tropical sun, their faces displayed just
tiredness and resignation---apart from the many
children, who were playful and engaging.
But Abigail Salis two toddlers were not there.
They were being looked after by their grandmother
in the ruins of a collapsed office building across
the street---their new home.
The typhoon made Abigail a widow and now
she was worried about how she would look after
her children. They had survived on biscuits and
a little water since the storm. They had eaten
nothing on the day we met.
Abigail told me she had not been in line for
long, maybe 30 minutes. Ahead of her, the line
snaked for more than 100 metres.
Inside the gates of the Convention Centre, the
line became more of a gathering and where it
ended there was nothing. Not a food distribution
point, not a government or UN truck, not even
a bag of rice. People at the front told me they
had been waiting for four hours. One woman
said she had not had any water since 7 am the
The Dopa family, including 11-year-old Cherry
Mae and Nathaniel, nine, squatted on the concrete
and huddled for shade.
"What are you most worried about?" I asked
"My children s education," she told me. She
wore a t-shirt with the slogan "Fan of books."
While we were at the Convention Centre no
food arrived, let alone was given out to people.
Yet parked outside, within sight of those wait-
ing, were two flat-bed trucks laden with food
supplies, donated by a private company. They
told me that there was no-one to coordinate their
donations, so they just waited. And the people
still went hungry.
Bahala na. (BBC)
Stoic survivors of Philippines typhoon
Transgender Texas student's
tuxedo photo banned
This photo provided by the Southern Poverty Law Centre shows Stella Loredo,
left, and her son, Jeydon Loredo, a South Texas transgender teenager who grew
up female but now identifies himself as a male. AP PHOTO
Typhoon survivors charge their mobile phones,
flash lights at a street in Tacloban, central
Philippines on Friday. AP PHOTO
More than one week after Typhoon
Haiyan ravaged the central Philippines, aid
is arriving in the city of Tacloban, one of
the worst-affected areas. But as the BBC's
Rajesh Mirchandani found out, it has yet
to reach many of those most in need.
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