Locker Room Policies for Transgender Kids
Should transgender students be singled out?
More and more I hear talk on the radio and see headlines on transgender kids and access to locker rooms. This week an Illinois high school was told it must accommodate transgender students without singling them out. The debate rages over whether a student who identifies as a female should be allowed to use the female locker room. The U.S. Department of Education says the student's rights are being violated by not allowing her to use the female locker room.
It's unchartered territory, and many parents fear allowing a transgender student into a locker room — including a male who identifies as a female into the girls' locker room like the case in Illinois. But what's the fear? Is it fear of the transgender child lying about who they are, and parents concerned that this boy may prey on their girls? Or is it just fear of the unknown.
I can't help but stop to think about the transgender teen. Teen years are hard enough as is, but being brave enough to come out and identify as transgender only makes it harder to find your "place" in cliques and peer groups. It's kind of a no win. If you're a boy who identifies as a girl, going to the boys locker room can't feel welcoming, but at the same time it's likely not a warm reception in the girls' locker room either. And if you if treat transgender kids as something other than male or female, you just put another stigma on them.
And here's the other thing: It's not just teens. A mom recently told me about her fourth-grade son who was asking her about a boy who now wears dresses in his school and goes by a different name. I love this mom's explanation: Sometimes a person may feel like they are born in the wrong body. Simple and concise. She then reminded her son to be kind and not poke fun.
So much more to come on this topic I feel sure, but what are your thoughts? And how would you approach this subject with your child? Something to think about because every child deserves a chance to be themselves!