Parents Upset That School Is Teaching Kids That Transgender Children Are People Too
A popular American pastime is flying into a rage over the inclusion of fairly basic facts and issues in school curricula. For example: evolution (dinosaur bones are a trick devised by Satan!), Islam (kids will convert and become terrorists!!), and sex education (kids might not know sex exists otherwise!!!). And the latest panic from the pearl-clutching brigade is centered on the topic of transgender people–specifically, the idea that they are normal human beings just like anyone else.
This scandalous effort to make sure all classmates are treated tolerantly and equally took place at Horace Mitchell Primary School in Kittery, Maine, where most of the schools K-3 classrooms read the book I Am Jazz together. I Am Jazz was written by transgender teen Jazz Jennings about her experiences questioning and then transitioning at a young age. This is not a deep dive into explanations of top and bottom surgery, or on the sexual lives of transgender people. It’s a picture book, and written accordingly for the picture-book audience; in it, Jazz describes living with a ‘boy’s body but a girl’s brain’.
District superintendent Allyn Hutton apologized for the failure to alert parents ahead of time about the school’s intention to cover a sensitive topic, and pointed out that the district has multiple students in attendance who identify as transgender. At least one parent of a transgender student sent a message of support to the school, but conservative parents got so up in arms that they had to go complain to Fox News host Sean Hannity about how devastated they are that their children might learn to treat classmates with respect. As one mother wrote in an email to Hannity:
â€œI feel like my thoughts, feelings and beliefs were completely ignoredâ€¦.My right as a parent to allow or not allow this discussion with my child was taken from me. It is very upsetting to me that I didnâ€™t have an option at all[.]”
Sorry, but the idea that transgender children should be treated as people deserving of dignity does not need to take into account anyone’s thoughts, feelings, or beliefs to the contrary. Parents of transgender children also don’t get the option to not have the discussion with their kids about why someone at school called them a slur, or harassed them, or asked invasive questions about their bodies; and they don’t get the option to avoid a world where their child lives at a disproportionate risk of violence and death.
So if the most traumatic thing that happens to your elementary schooler is being told, “Some people might look like boys when they’re born, but they’re really girls, and some people like like girls but then are really boys. And whoever they are, they’re regular kids just like you”? You should count yourself very lucky.