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Colorado School Accommodates 8-Year-old Transgender Student

Here's an example of how schools should be treating diversity in their schools. Perhaps this kind of example can help prevent incidents like the murder that happened in Oxnard, California.

PearsonCNN interviews Kim Pearson of Trans Youth Family Advocates about an eight-year-old transgender-identified child who is returning to a school in Douglas County, Colorado that has adjusted its facilities and teaching environment to accommodate her.

According to CNN, two unisex bathrooms have been provided for the student, teachers will call the student by her name, parents and teachers will get info on transgender people, and officials will be made available for questions.

The school released this statement: "We continue to be focused on providing a positive learning environment for this student and all students in the class and school that is free from harassment. As with many other students, this particular student brings a diverse set of circumstances to the school setting."

Watch the full clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. This is great to hear! The administration should be applauded for taking such a postive and accepting stance on the subject. They could very easily make it an issue.

    Children need to be taught acceptance (not tolerance) at an early age, it prevents things like them killing each other when they get older.

    As a side note, I hate the word tolerance. To tolerate someone means that you do not like them, but that you can handle their presence. I demand acceptance... anything less is an insult.

    Posted by: Taylor | Feb 14, 2008 10:09:28 AM


  2. An eight year old having his/her sex changed? That crosses the line, sorry folks. This individual has barely learned addition and is getting a sex change operation. Does no one see anything wrong with this picture?

    Posted by: NowItMatters | Feb 14, 2008 10:11:58 AM


  3. Nowitmatters: Who said anything about a sex change operation? Please try to think clearly before jumping to unwarranted judgmental conclusions. This eight year old is not having her sex changed, but recognized, and will most probably have to live with the difficulty of an inconvenient physicality for years before having a sex change operation, if she ever even does.

    Posted by: C.Casey | Feb 14, 2008 10:18:30 AM


  4. I don't have the ability to watch the video at work, but does it say the child is having a sex change? Or does it just say that the child is trans-identified. There is a big difference.

    Posted by: Taylor | Feb 14, 2008 10:19:51 AM


  5. This kid is not "having his/her sex changed."

    We humans have male or female brains. There is a difference biologically. Unfortunately some people's brains and bodies do not match, and this causes them pain. Imagine growing up feeling like a male but being stuck with a female body. Or vice versa.

    This boy--sorry, this girl--is simply being allowed to be what she is.

    Posted by: Miles | Feb 14, 2008 10:20:35 AM


  6. I can't watch the clip at work but I don't think the kid is getting a sex change. The story just mentions a "transgender-identified" kid. Which to me means that the kid feels he/she is the wrong sex.

    I'm far from an expert on sex change operations but I doubt they could perfrom such an operation on a prepubescent.

    Posted by: EireKev | Feb 14, 2008 10:22:51 AM


  7. fabulous! this is indeed good news. and some people need to work on their reading/retention skills... the article does not mention a sex change but the kid being transgendered which does not always involve having a sex change, i myself feel very transgender sometimes and i still have my original equipment intact thank you and feel no compunction to change it ... i feel pretty oh so pretty oh so pretty and witty and gay....

    Posted by: the queen | Feb 14, 2008 10:26:41 AM


  8. No, it is not a sex-change situation, it is a 'trans-identified situation. I'm shocked that the school is doing it really, but pleased for the kids sake. If people don't think it's possible for an 8 yr old to know, I can tell you from personal experience they do. My goddaughter from the age of 5 or 6 insisted she was a boy and wanted to be called Tony and wear boy clothes, and it wasn't a whim or a phase. She is now 17 and is very androgenous.

    Posted by: secretagentman | Feb 14, 2008 10:33:25 AM


  9. No one's going to perform a "sex change" on an eight year old in the United States--unless they want to go to jail. I have heard of hormone therapy beginning (with the parent's consent) as early as eleven or twelve, but surgery? No. There have been operations performed on infants to "correct" ambiguous sex organs--the actual assigning of the child's sex. Such procedures have sometimes ended in disaster stories and suicides.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 14, 2008 10:37:33 AM


  10. It looks like the mom is living as a man.. why shouldn't the daughter?

    Posted by: mike | Feb 14, 2008 10:38:35 AM


  11. Dear, THE QUEEN, you know I love every word that comes out your mouth, onto the keyboard, and onto this blog; but don't try to be too "witty", darlin'. I got "read" viciously last week by some evil so-n-no for my attempts at being "witty". Now, I play it cool, darlin'--no attempts at wit. I just be a stepin' and fetchin' and bein' a discredit to my race.

    I just hope my fellow Ukrainians can forgive me.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 14, 2008 10:47:13 AM


  12. Yeah, um, Mike? It's not the mom.

    Posted by: C.Casey | Feb 14, 2008 10:49:16 AM


  13. I support transgender people, but isn't eight a little too young to be going to such lengths? No one's sexuality and/or gender indentification can, IMO, be fixed at that young an age. Give the kid a little room and a little time, and please, keep her/him away from the media!!

    Posted by: Jack | Feb 14, 2008 11:40:46 AM


  14. I think it is crucial to see a child being supported/ protected. I hope the parents, school, etc. will allow the child time and space to think things through.

    Posted by: SeanR | Feb 14, 2008 12:25:50 PM


  15. Mike, that isn't funny.

    Posted by: Miles | Feb 14, 2008 1:04:45 PM


  16. No one could perform sex reassignment surgery on a child under 8? Perhaps you have not heard that this surgery is performed on thousands of newborns every year who have ambigous genitals and their gender is surgically created irrespective of their genetic gender or their own perceived gender.

    Posted by: jacquelyn | Feb 14, 2008 1:09:38 PM


  17. Kim Pearson is a hero. If only all trans kids could have a parent like her. And, as she articulately pointed out from personal experience with her child, kids can know their gender identity at a very young age and be very certain about it. (Lord knows there isn't much societal incentive not to conform--kids aren't likely to just "play" at being trans.) The school is to be commended for, as Kim said, "stepping up to the plate" on the issue and for this student. (Having an actual sex change operation is not on the table in this discussion, as others have pointed out.)

    As for the parent who can't figure out how to explain this to his child, that's his problem! It's so irritating when parents think that, just because they don't understand something or because their child "isn't like that," then they have no responsibility to inform themselves or to think about the well-being of children other than their own. So they talk about protecting their precious offspring from difference when really it's really pure selfish narrow-mindedness that is behind their objections.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 14, 2008 1:13:38 PM


  18. Yes Miles.... it is!

    Posted by: mike | Feb 14, 2008 1:23:04 PM


  19. Most trans and I am one know they are transgendered from a very early age. Most state transgendered feelings from preschool on. I applaud the parent for supporting her child and understand the school not being able to go beyond tolerance for such diversity in the classroom. After all most transgendered do not receive this amount of support as adults in the workplace. So kudos to the parent(s) and kudos to the school system.

    Posted by: jacquelyn | Feb 14, 2008 1:42:00 PM


  20. Hi, Jacuelyn, I really appreciate your input and contribution here. When I said that trans children consider themselves "gay" when they're young, I guess I was talking about MY GENERATION of trans folk. Most trans women I know will still call themselves "gay" from time to time. I, was called "faggot" as a child even though I didn't experiement with womean's clothing. Still, in mannerism, walking, speech sound--there was no differnce between me and any male trans child.

    Also, I was aware of the operations that are done on enfants to decide their sex (when they are born with ambiguous sex organs). My point was I don't think a transgender child's parents or any doctors would agree to voluntary surgery until well into that child's teenage years. I know one trans woman who had surgery at age seventeen with her parent's consent. But here again, Jacuelyn, that trans woman is still a regular in Philly's gay scene. She's at the bars, at all gay events--so, even after the successful surgery, her sentiments and social life are still with gay people. That's why I argue that many trans people are also gay.

    But thanks, Jacquelyn, for your input. You are brave by just existing in this world. And I aint bein' condescending.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 14, 2008 3:44:25 PM


  21. Well first and foremost, sexuality isn't part of gender identity. I'm trans M2F currently in transition and I'm still attracted to women. I suppose you could labal me as lesbian in that sense and say I was gay.

    As far as the child goes, she won't be having a sex change at the age. They will moniter her and as pubery sets in they will give her anti androgyn blockers tp prevent testosterone damage. She would then eventually start hormone replacement and then a change. I'd tend to believe she would need to be at least 18 but I could be wrong ..

    As far as the age goes I can tell you I knew something was different about me between the ages of 5 and 8. I was never allowed to do anything about it and suffered for most of my life. I wish I had been able to take care of this when i was young and live a normal life....

    Posted by: Karyn | Feb 14, 2008 8:40:37 PM


  22. I'm transgendered (M2F) and I realized something was wrong about age 5. It wasn't until much later that I put it all together. Indeed I was born with a female programmed brain. (Until the Intel Macintosh computers I used to tell people I was a Dell Computer programmed with a Macintosh operating system). Trans kids face much pain and this school is doing a great service to this child. Believe me that if she wakes up some morning and discovers she now identifies as masculine instead of feminine, she will let her family know. People tend to think that trans people decide one day that it would be cool to experiment with a new wardrobe or make up. That's as absurd as thinking that a straight man decides it would be cool to be gay for awhile so he can experience how much fun it is to face the scorn of society. And eight year old boys who are just finding themselves and their gender identity don't let someone easily talk them into wearing a dress to school. Every night of my life for as far back as I can remember, I laid in bed and held a conversation with God, asking why he couldn't just do this one favor for me and turn me into a physical girl so that everything would finally be OK with me. In high school when my friends fantasized about how cute that girl or guy at the dance was, my first thought was how cute those dresses were and how feminine I would feel if only someone would give me a corsage.
    I can tell you that I believe from the bottom of my heart and based on personal experience that the accommodations made for this child are good news. By the way, as a male, I am straight but since I consider myself to be female, I identify as a lesbian and consider myself to be such.
    Kelly

    Posted by: Kelly | Feb 14, 2008 11:19:49 PM


  23. I'm transgendered (M2F) and I realized something was wrong about age 5. It wasn't until much later that I put it all together. Indeed I was born with a female programmed brain. (Until the Intel Macintosh computers I used to tell people I was a Dell Computer programmed with a Macintosh operating system). Trans kids face much pain and this school is doing a great service to this child. Believe me that if she wakes up some morning and discovers she now identifies as masculine instead of feminine, she will let her family know. People tend to think that trans people decide one day that it would be cool to experiment with a new wardrobe or make up. That's as absurd as thinking that a straight man decides it would be cool to be gay for awhile so he can experience how much fun it is to face the scorn of society. And eight year old boys who are just finding themselves and their gender identity don't let someone easily talk them into wearing a dress to school. Every night of my life for as far back as I can remember, I laid in bed and held a conversation with God, asking why he couldn't just do this one favor for me and turn me into a physical girl so that everything would finally be OK with me. In high school when my friends fantasized about how cute that girl or guy at the dance was, my first thought was how cute those dresses were and how feminine I would feel if only someone would give me a corsage.
    I can tell you that I believe from the bottom of my heart and based on personal experience that the accommodations made for this child are good news. By the way, as a male, I am straight but since I consider myself to be female, I identify as a lesbian and consider myself to be such.
    Kelly

    Posted by: Kelly | Feb 14, 2008 11:20:37 PM


  24. Not sure what genration you are from Derrick, I am 52. I always knew that I was not attracted to same gender but I also always knew that I wanted to live my life as the opposite of my physical gender. When I came out 20 years ago it was a very dangerous time to be transgendered and open. Thank god times have changed. I have always been open about being bigendered, I wish more of my sisters and brothers would also be open about their gender identity. Many transfolk associate with gays not just becuase we feel an affinity to the gay culture but also it is a safer place to be trans than in straight bars. I am a member of United Church of Christ and sing bass in the choir. I am a supervisor of a catalog production machine ( saddle stitcher) and also completely open at my job. So today you can be openly trans in straight society and safe. I really do wish this person who is just starting her journey the best of all life has to offer.

    My point about intersexuals is that their physical gender is chosen for them often wrongly that then creates great distress later in life when the intersexual comes into their own gender identity and it does not agree with that chosen for them. Just as this child should not and will not undergo surgery until adulthood so for intersexuals they should be able to chosewhat physical gender is approprate for themselves.

    Posted by: jacquelyn | Feb 15, 2008 12:42:07 AM


  25. I "stumbled" onto this story while watching in horror the news from my alma mater, Northern Illinois University. A gunman killed 5 before killing himself. I was stunned. Somehow, even though I haven't been on the campus for 17+ years it still affected me.
    I live in Douglas County, Colorado and am PROUD that our school district has taken these steps despite my views of fiscal responsibility. To be sure, gender identity is not clear in many people's eyes. They simply don't understand.
    This may not prevent a fate such as the one at NIU but it is clear to me that my school district is moving in the right direction.

    Posted by: Doug in Douglas County | Feb 15, 2008 5:46:23 AM


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