The day I read that my children’s school district was getting sued over the fact that they allow transgender boys to use the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity rocked my world.
I would like every person reading this blog to think about the moment they gave birth to or adopted a child. If you are a committed parent like me, you immediately had immense love and vivid dreams for that child. Hopefully you had a conversation with yourself that you would love that person unconditionally and without hesitation. When that magical moment happened in your life, when that person was placed in your arms, someone informed you that person was either female or male.
You believed them, didn’t you? Of course you did. We all do.
Now imagine that as that child grows up, you realize things aren’t the way you projected them to be.
I have a transgender son. When he informed me of this, I knew I had some work to do. I had to educate myself. I didn’t know anyone who was transgender. Sure, I heard of it before, but I didn’t have a personal contact. So off to the Internet I went to read up on what I had to do to help my son.
There I learned about the high suicide rate and the discrimination he may face. I was scared. I did not want to lose my child. So I made the decision to support and love him no matter what.
The thought of school frightened me. I was afraid of what he would face in school. What would teachers say? What would his friends say? What supports would be in place to ensure his safety?
He asked me to homeschool him, but instead I suggested we meet with the school. Thankfully, Boyertown counselors and administration met with us and told us that they would work with us every step of the way. I was relieved to know that my son attended an affirming public high school. They have worked very closely with my son and I throughout his high school career, affirming and supporting him every step of the way.
My son’s transition has not been automatic and quick. This has been a five-year process since his announcement to me — but an entire lifetime for him. Attending a public high school like Boyertown has been the highlight of the last three years. Knowing that he can use the men’s restroom and locker room and that his teachers will use the correct name and pronouns made all the difference in the world. My son walks the halls of Boyertown High School proudly being his genuine self. He was on the Homecoming Court, and he finally got to run in a boy’s cross country meet.
When you click on the Boyertown website, you see the words, “To enable all students to succeed in a changing world.” Boyertown lives by this statement. Our world is changing and people are becoming more comfortable with who they are, regardless of what others think.
This is as it should be.
One of Boyertown High school’s jobs is to help prepare our children to be respectful, responsible, productive citizens. This is exactly what they are doing when they affirm all types of students. With the ACLU’s help, we’re seeking intervention in the lawsuit against our school district because my son deserves a chance to defend himself, and because his school should not be punished for doing the right thing. The school deserves a medal, not a lawsuit.