Monthly Archives: June 2013

Transgender Tot and School Toilets

Most of us are aware of the struggle of transgender people. Born a boy, the brain identifies female. Born a female, the brain identifies male. This is not a choice. It is a biological fact that has been measured by researchers. The specific experiment was in watching the brain’s reaction using an MRI to various visual 6971397-0-largestimuli. Transgender females’ brains responded very similarly to a biological female. The same was true of transgender males. This isn’t about, for instance, a girl saying to herself, “gee, I feel like being a boy from now on.” Most transgender people struggle emotionally and psychologically with their condition, beginning in early childhood. They suffer from clinical depression and anxiety when their family and friends try to suppress their feelings, or trivialize their feelings as merely a phase. Some transgender people commit suicide due to the repression of their true sex. Some of these people are quite young, in their teens and early 20’s.

414px-Alice_Liddell_2No one teaches a child to be transgender. Very few people deliberately (and successfully) raises a boy as a girl or a girl as a boy. Why would any parent look at the child and decide “I wanted a boy so I will raise my girl as a boy.” In all honesty, a reader replied to one of my blogs and told me that her father raised her as a boy. She didn’t explain why but she certainly suffered from many psychological problems by the time she was able to leave home. This is the result of raising a child as the opposite gender.  It doesn’t work.

I’ve detailed the John-Jane Case in an earlier blog. The case was that of David Reimer, a male who was raised unsuccessfully as a girl due to a tragic circumcision accident. A psychiatrist named John Money worked with Reimer and his family to convince Reimer that he was a she. Reimer was given female hormones and dressed like a girl. In spite of these influences, Reimer suffered many consequences:

  1. depression
  2. confusion – he liked girls and worried that he was a ‘lesbian’
  3. bullying by children at school
  4. suicidal urges

When, at the age of 13, he became suicidal, his parents informed him of his real sex. This liberated Reimer for many years, but ultimately his experience led to his suicide at the age of 35. Skeptics believe that transgender is learned and not genetic. The David Reimer case contradicts this ignorance. What I’m leading up to for the past several paragraphs (you still with me?) is a recent case about a 6-year-old transgender female in kindergarten , Coy Mathis, from Colorado, who has been permitted to live as a girl by her parents. Throughout kindergarten at Eagleside Elementary School , Coy was permitted to use the girls’ washroom, but in grade 1, the school reversed its decision and told Coy’s parents the girl had to either usevictim the boy’s bathroom, the nurse’s office bathroom, or the teacher’s bathroom. Naturally, Coy didn’t want to use the boys’ washroom. Can you imagine being a kid again and forced to use the toilet for the opposite sex? Eesh. Her parents immediately withdrew her from school and homeschooled her while they fought the decision through the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Their lawyers were from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. Eventually, the matter was resolved in Coy’s favour.

Pre-school and kindergarten children often display extreme behaviors when parents and schools try to force them into the role of their biological sex. These children are known to:

  1. self-mutilate (eg. bite themselves; scratch themselves until they bleed; pull out their hair)
  2. throw temper tantrums when parents try to dress them according to their biological gender
  3. act out when schoolteachers force them to identify with their biological gender: for example, one kindergarten transgender female became irate and threw a tantrum when a teacher tried to make her stand in a line-up for boys.

back_to_schoolTransgender students and school life has been making news both in Canada and abroad, as school boards struggle to accommodate the specific needs of these students.

  1.  November 2012, a transgender teen boy from in Clarington, Ont. was told he couldn’t use the boys’ bathroom although half of the students at his high school signed a petition in his favour.
  2.  April 2013, a transgender teen girl from Nova Scotia faced suspension at her rural high school in Milford Station for using the girls’ bathroom.

The bathroom thing really gets me. What do the schools think the transgender kids are doing in there anyway? Medical examinations? As far as I can remember picutres of male and female genitalia are part of the human sexuality curriculum in both elementary and secondary schools. Who cares where you pee? Meh, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen em’ all.

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A Community Affair

booksNow, before I sound like I’m blackballing the fine administrators and teachers of school boards everywhere, I would like to state clearly:  the vast majority are good, solid people with strong ethics who love kids and would never jeopardize their jobs in any manner.  (You must have an idea what’s coming next). In fact, when one of us steps out of line its big news.  That said, here are a few oddball tidbits for you that not only affect staff and sometimes (unfortunately) students but also extend into the school community.  This, of course, is inevitable.

I know of a school principal (not from my board but I have it on tight sources) who was a married man, family man, very diplomatic and great with staff.  The staff loved him.  I heard this thback_to_schoolrough a reliable source.  His wife herself was a consultant at the board office. That job is gold.  You have to be seconded (that is, asked) to take a job when you become a consultant. You don’t apply for it. Well, didn’t staff get the shock of their lives when the principal began having an affair with a very fine-looking woman at the school who was also a specialist in a certain area (stop that, you) Staff was staggered. The two educators didn’t seem the type, especially since she was also married.  A soap opera, indeed.

I do believe this whole bleak scenario came to light when the admin’s wife (remember she is also employed by the board), showed up at his work ready to take him out one day: shrieking about what a jerk and (insert word choice here)  __________________  for his hook-up with someone else.  This happened quite frequently. Okay, this happened on a regular basis. Personally I wouldn’t bring my private life into work, no matter what anyone else on staff knew about it. Suffer in silence. Hold your head up in public.

Such was the effect of this unfortunate situation that it was only a matter of time before parents andbigstockphoto_you_are_fired_475827 older students (who gleefully reported back to their parents) became aware of the affair. This was now beyond a personal affair. This had become a community affair, and a pretty messy one at that.  It was time for the board to take action. The superintendent transferred the principal out of the school as fast as you can say “you’re demoted“. He was not pleased.  He loved his school and didn’t at all wanted to be transferred to his new digs – a school in an undesirable area. C’est la vie. That’s what happens when you dip your pen in the company ink.

The lady was also transferred out, surprisingly. Oftentimes the female teacher is allowed to remain wthe duncehere she is located. Mind you, she might have asked for a request but I doubt it. This whole scenario is quite unique in that the admin actually was punished for his transgression. Impressive. I’ve heard (although I cannot confirm) that the old boys’ network is alive and well, even in school boards. My understanding was that the admin, if a male, was permitted to remain right where he was as if nothing had happened. It rather surprised me that this man wanted to stay in this community and work with this same staff. Everyone knew about him. There was bound to be a lack of respect for the man among staff and families. Whatever.

Here’s another tidbit for you. I personally knew of two teachers indeed in my school board (gasp), who were each married to other people and became involved in an illicit affair. Naturally, the two denied there was any sexual activity: the affair was strictly emotional. Pleeease. Again the school community found out about it, as well as the entire staff. Here’s another gem: the man’s wife was pregnant with their first child. Wonderful. Wasn’t he a prize? Long story short: he was transferred out to a school many miles away where none of the community k59445258-woman-crying[1]new of him. The woman was allowed to remain.

The story however doesn’t end there. Here’s an amusing endnote for you: so determined was this lady to continue her relationship with her paramour that she investigated a new place of residence in the same jurisdiction where he had been placed. Seriously. She was willing to uproot her children out of their current schools and neighbourhood to follow this man around like he was her first high school crush. Meanwhile, their relationship floundered. Sometimes it was on and sometimes it was off. Weirdly, the boyfriend told her if she didn’t make a committment to him he would have another baby with his wife. What? Dude, make up your mind.

Long story short: they are no longer together. They are both divorced from their spouses and re-married to sor437160_2103070meone else. This was years ago. It’s forgotten. Transfers seem to do wonders when severing illicit affairs and returning dignity to a school and its community. Although I have argued on behalf of teachers’ right to have a personal life outside of a professional life, when certain behaviours shatters the confidence a community has in its schoolteachers, it’s time for someone above board (pun) to step in.