Last year, when my daughter was in preschool, I came in a couple times and read a book to the class. I loved reading to them and S. really enjoyed having me there. What kid doesn't, right? My son has started this year at the same preschool. Last week, an email went out to all the parents in G's class asking for volunteers to come in and read. I thought about it a lot, talked with my sister, who is a 1st-grade teacher and has a 5 and 2-year old, my therapist, and decided to volunteer. Got an email back from her teacher... "THANKS!!"

Great, huh? Well, think again. Today I got a phone call from Sharlene, the principal or head administrator of the school. It's a private school, in an upper-class, conservative area. I could tell the tone of the voice mail. She said something to the effect of, "I just wanted to talk or meet with you to see how we could come to a mutual understanding of..." or some bullshit like that. I didn't really pay attention to the rest of her message. I knew damn well what the reason for the phone call was.

So I called her back. My suspicions were confirmed when pretty much the first question she asked me was, "well, why do you want to come in and read a book to the class?" Um, because my son is in the class. That's how it works. I asked her if she called all the other parents, asking for their motivations for reading to their children. We trans people... we're awful, you know. If a trans person wants to read a book to her child's class, it simply *must* be for some other reason than simply wanting to be an involved parent.

In an incredibly circuitous, passive-aggressive, and disingenuous way, she insinuated that I shouldn't come read to the class because it would confuse the children. And the children would have questions. And the parents wouldn't want to answer them. And she'd get phone calls and/or emails from the parents. And she didn't want to deal with it. That was the essence of what it took this woman 20 minutes to say. At one point, I just asked her to say whatever it was she was trying to say. I mean, seriously. Out with it. But she wouldn't. She wanted me to voluntarily say, "oh, ok, I won't come in." Fuck that. There was no way I was going to say that. I basically told her that I saw this as a learning opportunity for the kids. People are all afraid or us, or threatened, or whatever, because they don't understand. Yes, the kids are young, and cannot understand gender identity, but 3-year olds don't need to. I think it would have been OK. I think the kids would have had the same "meh" reaction that my kids have had, or my at-the-time 4-year old nephew had when my sister showed him a picture of me... he said, "Wow!" and then asked for some cookies.

Anyway, I repeatedly expressed that in a respectful manner to her, and she eventually said, "It would affect G's enrollment here." I thought it best for me to not say anything stupid or in the heat of the moment, so I told her that I didn't have anything else to say and that I was ending the call. This woman is afraid of getting phone calls from parents. She's afraid. She didn't even have the guts on the call to just come out and say what she wanted. Even at the end, all she said was, "This would effect his enrollment." She never said what would effect it, she didn't have the courage to. Pathetic and spineless. Or, she's just an ignorant, closed-minded person. Or both. I have zero respect for her. On the call, I asked her what research she had done to prepare herself for the call, knowing full well she'd done nothing of the sort. You can imagine that she didn't have much of an answer.

That said, this is not a battle that I could win, and even if it were, the potential harm it would cause my son far outweighs the good I could do by coming in and reading a book to his class. Moving him to another school also would not be a good thing for him. This is about my son, not my rights as a parent. So, I will live to fight another day. This is the first post tagged with "discrimination." It likely won't be the last, sadly. I'd love to name the school here and SEO this page so that when people Googled this school, this post would come up. But, I won't. That wouldn't help G., either. I'm angry, very angry about this... but I need to take it lying down this time, unfortunately. I'm not going to use my son to prove a political point with school administration. It's frustrating, because I am not the type to tolerate this sort of bigoted crap.

I am my child's parent. Part of that, especially when you are transgender, is absorbing stuff like this, for their sake.


That's just awful.

We're fortunate in that our kids all go to a charter school run by some pretty progressive (and well educated) people. We have yet to encounter this kind of attitude from any of the teachers or administrators. But I'd be pretty upset if we did.

And you're right, this is entirely about the attitudes of the adults. Kids of that age (and even older ages) don't freak out when meeting trans people. If our difference is noticed at all it may briefly make us more interesting than other adults. But that passes within seconds as their attention moves to the next interesting thing. They're just not that hung up around gender and sexuality at that age.

Good luck with that school. I hope it either gets better, or a better educational opportunity for your child comes along.

I hear you. I also sympathize with the need to walk that fine line between proving a point and making it seem like you are doing so but at the expense of your children. On the other hand, you can still stand up and demand the respect that every other parent gets by attending every school function that is available to you. It doesn't mean waving a trans flag in front of everyone, but I don't see you as the type to do that anyway. It does mean telling parents and school personnel that "Here I am, the parent of my child, the same as you." You can see a parallel here, harking back to the more blatant discrimination in the 1950's and 1960's when blacks were considered a step below the rest of the population. Progress has been made, but more is ahead....for all of us.

Ugh Sorry to hear this girl. It does seem like a losing battle. Then again as long as your children didn't have a problem with it, it would seem fine to me.

People so need to get over the "trans/gay people are AFTER your children" bs. God I hate that.

grrrrrrrr, attitudes are changing but its so damn slooooow.
You are so good to bite your tongue.

I will never understand the mentality that lumps pedophiles in with gay and transgender,it is so offensive.I get angry tears when I think to hard about it,along the lines of thats my kid you'r talking about!!!

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