New Jersey School Backs Down, Allows Transgender Teen To Enroll as a Girl

Rachel Pepe, a transitioning transgender student from New Jersey who earlier this week was refused permission to return to school using her new gender identity, has since had that decision reversed.

Rachel pepe

Rachel Pepe, a transgender student from New Jersey who we reported earlier this week was refused permission to return to school using her new gender identity, has since had her refusal reversed by school administrators.

Last year, Pepe attended Thorne Middle School in Middletown, New Jersey, but when she tried to register for classes with her new gender identity, the school district said she would have to return using her birth name “Brian.”

Pepe’s mother Angela Peters said at the time that the school failed to engage with her on proposed solutions to the problem.

However, the superintendent of the school district, William O. George, has since announced that he will work with staff to make sure Rachel can attend school in a safe environment. George also said Middletown Township Public Schools staff would undergo LGBT sensitivity training, reports Huffington Post.

"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George told the Asbury Park Press. "Every child is different and their education and social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to find the appropriate placement."

Back in April, the Department of Education issued new guidance that made it clear Title IX law protects transgender students from discrimination.

Comments

  1. says

    TERRIFIC

    it’s really a staggering thing to comprehend – a young woman, a TEEN, who has the courage to be herself in a world that condemns her for that – and the utter shameful cowardice of the adults who would seek to have their prejudices impact her negatively.

    she stood strong, and kudos to her family for their support, and all those who helped make this “an issue” – because it is an issue.

  2. Tyler says

    lol! the school might have caved to pressure and allowed him to enroll as a girl, but nature never caves. enrolling as a girl doesn’t make you one, any more than enrolling as a horse makes you a horse.

  3. Oliver says

    If he’s going to use a girl name and make a big deal about it, why doesn’t he at least use a real girl’s name? In my entire life and in all my travels, I have never met a girl named Pepe.

  4. Tyler says

    Rick, people who post on this site know I’m not transphobic. Again and again, you post under names not associated with transphobia or racism, making it blindingly obvious it’s in fact YOU. I thought trolls were supposed to be able to get away with trolling?

    Are you as much of a failure in life as you are with trolling? You sound like one of those couldn’t-get-laid ex-gays.

  5. Mike in the Tundra says

    “enrolling as a girl doesn’t make you one, any more than enrolling as a horse makes you a horse.”

    Rick, why don’t you try enrolling as a horse’s ass? No one will doubt you.

    This young woman is terribly brave. Kudos to her and her mother. I also wish them the best.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    @ Little Kiwi,

    thanks for the comment you aimed at that racist, mysogynistic, Transphobic bastard today– in the discussion about the little boy tortured and murdered in Los Angeles. And you’re so right about what causes people to murder little boys who are gender role non-conforming. It’s happened TOO many times. It could have happened to me, but my family were decent folks…well, fairly decent folks.

    I’m glad you spoke up. I can’t deal with that racist motha’ fvcka’ today.

  7. JMC says

    I’m glad those cowards relented but ugh their initial refusal and the national news media spotlight it put on this girl is going to make her school year so much harder than it needed to be. Being trans in school is hard enough without sh!t like this singling you out..

  8. Jack says

    Don’t really understand this. She wants to enroll as a girl, but she uses a common Mexican name for males. Then there are anti-Mexican comments here by Little Kiwi. Is this whole thing some kind of anti-Mexican prank by Towleroad?

  9. JacobWilford says

    Hahaha at trolls who can’t tell the difference between a first and last name. If Rachel was reading this I’m sure she’d be laughing too.

  10. JacobWilford says

    Hahaha at trolls who can’t tell the difference between a first and last name. If Rachel was reading this I’m sure she’d be laughing too.

  11. Truther says

    @JacobWilford,

    You raise a good point. Pepe is this shim’s last name, not its first name. But the mother’s last name is Peters. How can it have a different last name than its own mother?

  12. jjose712 says

    It’s sad that people feel the necesity to troll even in stories about so young people.
    The girl must suffer a lot, it’s no easy to be different at that age, and her difference is not something you can hide.
    She is going to face a lot of stupid people, and i’m probably delusional to expect some compassion on a gay site.
    At least this resolved quickly, and hopefully the school will learn something and will make the enviroment safe for her

    By the way, Pepe is her middlename. Being a troll is bad enough, there’s no need to be so stupid

  13. says

    JJose712…. that’s what i find so disgusting. here’s a brave, utterly courageous TEENAGER in a story…and what do we have in here? a grown adult man, a middle aged closeted man, choosing to use various names to promote HATRED against this brave, courageous, openly-Trans girl.

    pathetic.

  14. says

    I am totes opposed to online bullying. Except when I urge gay men and lesbians with whom I disagree to hang themselves, to shoot themselves whilst practicing oral sex on firearms, to kill themselves by asphyxiation, or to kill themselves whilst pleasuring themselves on the graves of their parents.

    As you can see, as I enter middle age, I am a stable, emotionally healthy man. And when I cyber bully, it is OK because I am right.

  15. Truther says

    Excuse me, Mike In the Tundra, but according to Queers United In Power or QUIP, we cisfolk should refer to trans people as it. At least I respect this shim enough to follow the most up-to-date queer rules concerning pronoun usage.

  16. says

    well, the truth is i do think this site’s anonymous trolling coward should off himself. that’s no secret. it’s not as if he’s contributing anything of worth to the world or to LGBTQ culture. he’s a coward who comes here every day to anonymously rail against his betters. which is practically everyone. including the brave young girl in this story.

    teenage girls is openly trans and demands dignity. this site’s trolling grown adult coward sits in the darkness promoting hatred against this teenage girl.

    Pathetic.

  17. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Except when I urge gay men and lesbians with whom I disagree to hang themselves, to shoot themselves whilst practicing oral sex on firearms, to kill themselves by asphyxiation”

    It’s not just a matter of disagreements on subjects/topics. When your views are cruel then Little Kiwi tells you to perform oral sex on a shut gun–the barrel, of course.

  18. Mike in the Tundra says

    ” but according to Queers United In Power or QUIP, we cisfolk should refer to trans people as it. At least I respect this shim enough to follow the most up-to-date queer rules concerning pronoun usage.”

    Well, i suppose that’s okay for someone who can’t think for themselves .

  19. JacobWilford says

    “Once a woman asked me to call her “Carol” so of course I have never called any woman anything other than that name ever since, because I can’t understand how humans work.”
    -Truther

  20. Truther says

    Analogy fail, JacobWilford. QUIP’s edict concerning the use of “it” is not just a personal preference like an individual woman’s preference for “Carol.” It is based on the need to exempt transfolk as a group from the shackles of the gender binary. Don’t you know anything about trans activism? If not, visit your local mental hospital during visiting hours and speak with some trans activists.

  21. StayPositive says

    Little Kiwi,

    I don’t wanna be any part of this flame war, but I have a question. What do you contribute to the LGBTQ community? I read an interview some website did with you a few months ago and they asked you what you do. It didn’t seem like you really do activism or movement building. As far as I know, you don’t work for any LGBT organization, you don’t donate any money to LGBT causes, you don’t volunteer at a homeless shelter for LGBT youth. You make plenty of online posts and you march in the Pride parade once a year. With all your passion and fervor and your admiration for Harvey Milk, I am surprised that you don’t do actual productive work for the LGBT movement. Why not take all the time spent on posting comments and volunteer at a good organization?

  22. says

    @Truther: QUIP seems to have a very bizarre hold over your brain. If you’re that susceptible to obscure “edicts,” it’s no wonder that you can’t understand JacobWilford’s perfectly apt analogy.

    A transgender youth would like to enroll as Rachel. Simple, non-threatening stuff. Yet, like the homophobes who are so averse to homosexuality they irrationally obsess over it all day long, transphobes spend inordinate amounts of energy obsessing over terminology they believe is nonsense and issues that don’t affect their own lives.

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