Integrating Trans Kids


Sabrina Rubin Erdely reports that “the trans-rights movement has speedily moved to a brand-new battleground: public schools”:

Kids are coming out as trans earlier than ever: A survey of the San Francisco school district found that 1.6 percent of high school students and, incredibly, one percent of middle-school students identified as transgender. Children are packing the few U.S. clinics like [the Center for Transyouth Health and Development], which are at the forefront of a new therapeutic approach, in which children may live as their preferred gender, complete with appropriate clothing, pronouns and often a new name. This so-called affirmative model has found an increasingly warm reception among the worried parents of trans children. And so while most doctors still consider this “social transition” for kids under the age of 10 to be controversial, already these intrepid young pioneers have begun venturing out into the world – including, in rare cases, female-to-male trans kids who undergo “top surgery” as early as age 13. …

Although 623 American colleges and universities have already adopted nondiscrimination policies to cover gender expression, high schools and middle schools are being forced to grapple with the question of how to deal with trans students in their locker rooms, athletic fields and bathrooms. It’s a haphazard fight raging at district, county and state levels; thus far, 2013 has been what appears to be a watershed year.

This past winter, educators in Massachusetts, Maine, and Portland, Oregon, issued guidelines to accommodate trans students, allowing them to use bathrooms and play on sports teams corresponding to the gender with which they identify. But in August, California trumped them all by becoming the first state to pass legislation spelling out that transgender students can choose which bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams they wish, based on their gender identity.

Parker Marie Molloy has more on the Golden State:

[A] firestorm of dissent is building around one section of the bill, stating that transgender students will have the opportunity to play on sports teams and use sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity, even if this doesn’t match their birth certificate. Opponents of the law, citing privacy concerns, have begun the process of collecting signatures to repeal the law through public referendum. Should these organizations collect the necessary 505,000 signatures required by November 6th, the law’s fate will be voted on by the general public in the 2014 midterm elections.

Previous Dish here on the debate over when a child can be considered transgender.

(Photo by Chas Danner)